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Need Your Input

Posted on 02/23/10 44 Comments

First of all thank you. All of your comments and concern really did wonders to get me out of my funk yesterday. You guys rock, I mean that, thank you. Now I need some input. I know many of you live in areas where Lyme disease is pretty hot.

When we called the Vet yesterday asking about Encore’s blood work he said “all of the blood work came back negative.” I decided to go and pick up the report so my own vet back home would have it. While sitting in the car I decided to read each individual report. He was mostly correct. Almost all of the tests came back negative except for the one for Lyme disease.  That one came back as

“Borderline(1)” and from what I can interpret from all of the numbers, a # (1) is giving a serological range of= 1:64-1:128

At the bottom report was an interpretive comment that stated:

“There is no serological evidence of exposure to Borrelia Bubgdorferi, the causal agent of Lyme disease. These results are most consistent with vaccination and/or natural exposure to Borrelia burgdorferi. A Lyme western blot test can differentiate between vaccination and natural exposure. If clinical signs of Lyme disease are present consider instituting treatment.”

So I know Encore absolutely has never been vaccinated against Lyme so wouldn’t  a dog showing the symptoms and showing even a low level of circulating antibody be a candidate for the antibiotic treatment? In fairness to the Veterinarian I haven’t had a chance to speak to him personally. Hopefully I will hear from him today. In the mean time I would love to hear from any of you that have an opinion.

Both Encore and I are hoping we can get back to training soon.

She is not currently lame, nor can I make her lame with exercise today (although yesterday she was limping slightly).

Am I crazy to think she should be treated??  I have a call to my own regular veterinarian at home. But I thought I would throw it out there to all of you that have seen more of this disease in your area. Is this a common scenario? Do you treat?

Today I am grateful once again to all of you blog readers. I can’t tell you how much better and more focused I felt after reading all of your comments and suggestions yesterday. Thank you once again.


  1. Katarina says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 6:21pm

    Aha, this seems to be where one registeres for the Lyme desease list:




  2. Katarina says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 6:16pm


    another thing. I didn’t notice my sheltie to suffer from Doxy at all. She was completely fine. I just gave her some yoghur after the treatment. I guess probiotics would be even better, to help her tummy flora.

    Ironically, totaly unrelated, but at the same time my sheltie was diagnosed, I had a strange rash on my skin, went on for some time. The dermatologist said it comes from the system and she actually put me on same exact Doxycyclin pills my sheltie had. Exact same. I took them and never felt any side affects from them as so ever. The fait had that if my sheltie should suffer, so should I:)))


  3. Katarina says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 6:11pm


    My sheltie was diagnosed with Erlichiosis after several months of limping in 2004. Several vets mistook it as soft tissue injury and I was about to start some laser therapy, when my instinct kept telling me that go and see one more vet. As soon as he saw her walking he said, let’s test for Lyme diseases and sure enough, she showed positive for Erlichiosis.
    I went to this list, it’s US and there is a vet on the list who has specialized in Lyme for over a decade (but I forgot his name, he should be on).
    Email [email protected]

    There I learned all I know about Lyme and other tick born diseases, many times people had false negatives, they discuss all sorts of titers… The consensus was that don’t ever wait for Lyme test to come back, just treat – if the dog shows any of the various symptoms (which vary vastly and seem unconnected). Especially for those when symptoms come back after a while after the dog was seemingly cured. This condition never goes away and can kick in any time dog’s hormonal balance changes (for example when a female goes into heat, when you vaccinate a dog – I avoided rabies vaccination that first year). Luckily, after 8 weeks of doxycyclin, my sheltie has been completely okay for 5 years, never limped again and does agility with no problems. Many agility dogs here in Slovenia have had Lyme, Erlichiosis or Babesiosis but were completely cured.
    Those 5 years ago I know emphasis was to treat for at least 8 weeks because of the cycle of the bacteria. If you treat only 4 weeks, you kill the live bacteria but not their larvae (this is really unscientific, I forgot the terminology, but I am sure nowadays vets can explain it better).

    I am sure Encore will shine through this in no time. Tara, the cured sheltie keeps her paws crossed:)))



  4. MicheleA says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 11:25am

    Yes, I would treat…my dog came back negative for ehrlichia but she had the symptoms, we treated her for 6-8 wks on Doxy she improved greatly


  5. Laurie G says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 10:53am

    Thanks so much to Susan for this blog and to all comments on this post. I have been seeing the same lameness issues in my dogs as described above and now have new paths to explore to get to the bottom of it. What a valuable resource this is for all of us.
    Thanks again. I’m off to the vet…


  6. Kim Collins says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 1:30am

    Hey Susan,

    Just an added comment to the “toe” thing, have her sesamoid bones x rayed on that toe, they are very hard to x ray but they “can” break a sesamoid and it shows up as on and off lameness. Bounce broke hers at 4 months old ( # 7 bone) just running in the field with the other dogs, x rayed her 3 times ( shoulder, wrist, elbow and toes) and couldn’t find anything because we never x rayed the sesamoid bones, lameness would come and go, apparently the bone will move around and cause pain/inflamation and then when you rest the dog it goes down, they look fine for a bit, then they limp again if they do too much.

    I found a vet that races whippets and it is apparently very common in racing dogs. Usually # 2 and # 7 or one or the other. It took us 6 months to diagnose this (and 3 vets x rayed her and many Chiro’s later could not find anything either ).

    There is a quick ( 3 weeks ) treatment for it ( Leslie knows about it because we talked about Bounce’s toe and what they did for her when I was at Camp one time ) and Bounce had it done at 10 months old and has never had a lame day since.

    If the scar tissue breaks away and the bone starts to move again the treatment can be done again. I was very upset because I would NOT run a dog who was going to have chronic pain and so I am glad I found the vet who did the X ray and showed me the bone totally out of place and suggested the treatment.

    All she has is slight numbness and less flexibility on that one toe apparently and I did notice that she had to re adjust to turning on that toe but she has never been lame since and she is 5 now.
    Hope that helps. Good luck! Check everything! It can’t hurt!



  7. Cat says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 1:00am

    I would treat. My 2-year-old Sheltie was just diagnosed with Lyme 3 weeks ago and is finishing up a round of doxy now, then we will do some homeopathic immune boosters. He was knocking bars like CRAZY, I could set up a simple circle of 4 jumps and he would usually knock 1, if not 2, despite a great jumping foundation. I use K9 Advantix religiously as well as an herbal bug spray every time we are outdoors, yet he still picked it up at some point last year.

    As a couple of other blog readers have suggested, I would recommending having a C6 panel run. This will give you a baseline of Encore’s levels, so you know what is going on. Strata’s level was 131 U/ml which is rather high but not astronomical. A friend’s dogs had numbers in the 600s. In six months (while treating the dog in the meantime) you will want to see that number drop by at least 50% — that’s the goal.

    Good luck! I hope that the Lyme is the cause of these problems, so you will have something to focus on & specifically fight against.


  8. Marcy says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 12:43am

    Susan –

    Coming into this late, but I would absolutely treat for Lyme’s – very little, if any, downside to it. Long Island is a hotbed for Lyme’s as well as all the other TBDs. Used to use Frontline on our dogs, but a few years ago it was totally ineffective so we switched to Advantix (but do not use if you have cats.) We double the probiotic when treating and also use GastroCalm in case of stomach upset. Be sure to treat with a high enough dose of doxy for long enough. If it is Lyme’s you should see improvement in a day or two.

    FWIW, one of the best resources I have seen dealing with tick-borne disease is at this site: http://vintagegoldens.com/tick.htm


  9. Shannon says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 12:34am

    Susan, sorry to hear about the intermittant lameness! I am not a vet but do work for one. Our vets would probly go ahead and give the antibiotics as a precaution but would also send in a complete rickettsial panel before starting the antibiotics. Also, have you considered having a gait analysis done?


  10. Stacie Enriquez says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 11:47pm

    By no means am I an expert, but will put this out there on the chance it may help. There is a Dr.Jean Dodds in Gardena, CA who is a blood expert (sorry, I don’t know what her “Official” Titles are) and has done extensive research regarding vaccines.

    Shame on the Dr. who ran your blood tests for not asking if Encore has been vaccinated!

    All the best to you and Encore and hope you find answers and a solution in the near future.


  11. Lisa K says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 8:01pm

    Morning Susan

    Thank you for alerting me to this disease. I live in SEQld Australia and this area is very bad for paralysis ticks which kill a large number of dogs/animals each year, however, only after reading your blog and googling Lymes Disease I have now found out that this disease can be caught by dogs here too from paralysis ticks. I have an 11 month old BC girl whom late last year picked up 3 paralysis ticks in a 2 day timeframe and although I removed them immediately, being only a young puppy she succumbed to their poison and became very ill very quickly, requiring a stay at the vets for urgent treatment. She too is now also lame in her right front leg (one of the ticks was in her right shoulder) and has been lame for some months and before today I didn’t even consider the correlation between the two. My vet and chiro have previously been unable to find anything wrong with her putting it down to growing pains and being a big happy puppy. This has meant I have been unable to start any serious training with her worrying I might injure her further. But armed with this new found knowledge I am off to the vets later this afternoon to raise this possibility with them as there is no harm in looking into all avenues for her lameness.

    I wish Encore all the best for a speedy recovery as we all want only the best for our dogs and for them to be happy & healthy.

    Lisa K


  12. A&J says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 7:59pm

    Yes, Nath, good point!! I used “Acidophilus Ultra” by New Roots Herbal from a natural food store.


  13. Alyssia says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 7:49pm

    Hi Susan, I was sorry to hear about Encore. My own dog was diagnosed with bicep tendonistis and a major teres strain. She would have lameness after laying down for awhile and tried hard on course but had a hard time collecting in weaves and would run wide. I have knocked out the tendonistis, but she keeps straining the teres, even though I am doing my best to build up her trength in a tricky area. She had a full tick panel done at the time of diagnosis and cameback borderline for RMSF. Because of her injuries we went ahead and put her on a 4 week course of Doxy. She had no side effects and tolerated it well. Most of the time Doxy is harmless, so if you do not think Encore will have any symptoms it would not hurt to put her on it. Interesting enough none of my dogs have tested positive for Lymes which is extremely common in my area, but 2 have for RMSF. Hope she gets better!


  14. Nath says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 7:46pm

    I don’t have time to read all the above comments so I apologize if I’m just repeating what somebody else has already said.

    Susan, this is VERY important: before giving Encore antibiotics make sure to boost her immune system first with probiotics. You should continue giving her probiotics during the treatment and at least a month after it because antibiotics destroy the bowel bacterial layer.


  15. A&J says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 6:34pm

    Here’s my story … Last April, I took my dogs with me to work. We went to a site in an area of the province where I knew there were reports of ticks, but there was snow on the ground, so I figured there would be no risk. There was a grove of pine trees, and not a lot of undergrowth where I let them burn off some steam. A few days later, I noticed a cyst on my older dog, so booked an appointment with my vet. Upon pointing out the cyst, she said “oh, it’s a tick!” – I was blown away, and totally disgusted when this thing the size of a Vit E capsule was crawling around on the table. Also feeling rather stupid for not figuring that out for myself, although, I still wasn’t clear where/when he had picked the tick up. In hindsight, it was more than 48 hours since I had been to this area, so testing was certainly order. A SNAP test revealed that it was negative for “deer tick”, and that “black-legged” tick was not an issue since it didn’t carry lyme. Now it was May. In August, two days before I was to drive to Ottawa for the Nationals, my vet called and said another report had come in, and that this same test result was actually positive, being mistakenly reported. After freaking out (the only appropriate thing to do), we decided on a course of action: send another blood sample to a lab in Winnipeg for a more rigorous test. I set out for the Nationals with 2 bottles of antibiotics and crossed fingers. A few hours into the drive, I got the call – negative. I can’t tell you the relief. Take aways: 1) Ticks will hatch when it’s cold enough for snow; 2) Ticks don’t necessarily “drop-off” after 10 to 14 days when they have a good thing going; 3) “Black-legged” is synonymous with “deer” – not a well-known fact – one in the same as far as lyme testing is concerned; 4) if there is any thought at all that your dog was exposed, go for the complete blood work vice the SNAP; and 5) Advantix and some natural products are preventative against ticks, if you know you’re going to be in an area that is tick-prone. If it were me, I would treat to be on the safe side, or re-test and treat if necessary.


  16. Mary Muliett says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 4:44pm

    Susan, I don’t have direct experience with Lyme Disease. However I do not think you are crazy to want to continue to try and treat or continue with tests.

    YOU ARE YOUR DOGS ADVOCATE and the only one they have by the way, since they cannot speak for themselves! No one is able to know as much as you do about your dog’s temperament, gait, and general way of being…..and by all means pester and ask more questions.

    I truly hope for you both this get’s resolved sooner than later, it is a difficult place to be, the not knowing.


  17. Darcy says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 3:50pm

    Having a teammate who is less than 100% is very emotional! There is no shame in feeling down about their pain and our inability to help them. (If only they could talk!!)

    I see you are no shortage of advice but I would like to re-iterate a couple of other people’s messages by saying trust your gut and take charge of your own medical care.

    This is VERY key for both humans and animals! Doctors and Vets are only human and do not know all the things we know about the situation. It just is not possible to re-iterate every symptom or change in a few minutes while at an office visit.

    Second, third, fourth,…opinions are crucial for the right diagnosis and peace of mind.

    As someone who never wants to make anyone feel bad, I have a tendancy to tkae people for what they say and believe it. When Sota was lame 2 years ago I just did what my vet and PT person said for several months including treating for lyme’s when in my gut it never felt right. I wanted him to be better for him and for me so we could compete and play so I just wanted to get started with treatment, any treatment. After months of rest and leg braces, he chased my young dog around our dining room table once. He was more lame after weeks of water treadmill, leg hobbles, leash walks, with this one dash around the table then he was before we started this expensive process. It was at that moment, I took things into my own hands and did the research and pushed the team I was already working with much harder.

    It ended up that we skipped a step in diagnostics, a simple x-ray showed his elbow was full of arthritis and in compensating for the elbow pain he had ripped his shoulder out. So even though we were trying to rehab the shoulder it would never work becuase the root cause was the elbow.

    Dr. Canapp,located in Baltimore at VOSM with Chris Zink and writes for Clean Run was the fourth opinion that worked for us. It took lots $$ and time but Sota is competing again and more importantly playing, running, chasing, fetching, swimming, etc, in everday life. It still brings me to tears just watching him get the zoomies in the yard knowing how long it took to get him back to this place. I am so happy for him!!

    Stick with it, you will find the answer!

    Hugs and licks to Encore and the rest of the crew!


    The Minnesota Goldens


  18. Lise Hansen says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 3:37pm

    Here in Norway we use to treat with antibioica. Each year there are many dogs that need to be put to death because of Lyme infection . Both my neighbor’s dog and my sister’s dog died because of this disease. So I would advise you to treat Encore.

    But I think Natalia have a point about checking the toe, a bad idea to give the Lyme disease all the focus, if the problem is in the toe:))



  19. Deb Bogart says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 2:23pm

    I would definitely go with the treatment. When we came back from Springfield, MA I found a tick on Jake. The first tick I have ever seen on either of my dogs. Since we stayed in CT and CT has the highest concentration for Lyme and is where the disease is assumed to originate from, my vet decided to treat for Lyme since the earlier you start the treatment the better the chances are of stopping it in its tracks. Since Lyme doesn’t show up for 4-6 weeks, I didn’t want to wait and have the test done to determine if he needed treatment or not.

    If they only did the SNAP test I would recommend having a more thorough test done. SNAP is good for a quick rule out, but doesn’t test for all of the types of Lyme disease out there.


  20. Michelle says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:54pm

    “Net”working is the best medicine. When my Trudy had a heart murmur as a pup my vet said it should go away. Next visit, still there, he still said dont worry. My gut said worry. So I booked an appt with a cardiac specialist and my fears were confirmed. She had PDA and needed surgery asap. She was less than 6 mths old. I told my regular vet of the specialists finding and he recommended her be put down, she was a weak pup and would hold me back. I seriously considered his advice as he had always been there for me in the past. However, like you I sought out the NET, joined a cardiac list for dogs and chatted away. Found out many owners had PDA pups, had surgery and turned out perfectly fine. So I went back to the specialist who put me in touch with a heart surgeon and we did the operation. Needless to say we no longer go to the other vet. But it was all the support and help from many strangers that got me through that tough time. Trudy is now 7 and brings me great joy, no holding me back and I try not to hold her back. Good luck Susan I think you are on to something.


  21. Carolyn says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:41pm

    The Tick-L list is a great resource (it’s an L-Soft list like Agiledogs). Also this website: http://blackgsd.googlepages.com/ and there are instructions there for getting on Tick-L. The folks on the tick-L list highly recommend Protatek labs in AZ for testing. Personally, I’d be treating with Doxy at the high dosage for 8 weeks no matter what the test results are that you’ve had so far. Good luck!


  22. Stephanie says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:41pm

    I work at a veterinary hospital. We do a snap 3DX test and generally choose to treat all dogs that come up as lyme positive with 4 weeks of doxycycline (as long as there are no other concerning issues with the dogs). Some owners will have us do a lyme C6 test to determine the actual number of antibodies but usually we treat with a month of doxy and retest for lyme 6 months to a year later.


  23. Amy says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:38pm

    I would definitely recommend running an Idexx Peptide C6 test.
    I would send out the test, begin treatment, and retest in 6 months.


  24. Mary says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:02pm

    Four years ago, I removed a tick from my little 10 lb agility Yorkie. There are lots of ticks here in wooded areas of Northern California. He was tested, treated with antibiotic (Doxycycline) and has never had a problem. I agree that the treatment is fairly benign. He had no side effects from the treatment. I am so glad that I had him treated.


  25. Dr. Jordan says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12:57pm

    Lyme Disease is not just the only thing to be concerned about. Lyme along with Leptospria share molecular mimicry and there are cross reactions in tests. Also, the Lyme Vaccine as in the Leptospira vaccines are both able to not only fail to protect the dog from infection from either of these two agents, the immunopathology that results from the vaccine antigens alone is fully capable of dis easing the dog with the same immune mediated pathology that an actual infection could.Vaccines in general mistune the immune system and weaken the individual. I was practicing in Massachusetts and saw the Lyme vaccine and the Lepto vaccines often dis ease the dog with the same exact problems that an active infection might do. Worse, is that other vaccines will cause cell mediated immunosupression and be the very cause of a patient not being able to offset a natural exposure to bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungus, internal and external parasites…..everything that requires a fully functional cell mediated immune system to handle. Lyme vaccines have been shown to confer the neurological, cognitive dysfunction, CNA disease, arthritis etc, only the patient because the antigens in vaccines impact the tissues of an individual and are at least 50% of the reason the body then expresses any certain disease pattern! Many patients right now, humans and animals are being misdiagnosed as having a “infection” esp when based only on serology which is not a true reflection at all do to molecular mimicry and cross reactions……and to the fact the vaccines themselves are responsible for producing immune mediated responses. Our leading primere veterianry vaccine researcher Dr. Ron Schultz advises against Lyme and Lepto vaccines does not use them despite living in an endemic area of the country for both! He only recommends the one time administration of DAP (distemper, adenovirus and parvovirus), the leathal viruses as all other vaccines do much more harm than good. One vaccine once at around 15 weeks is all that is required for providing a lifetime of immunity against the lethal viruses. The vaccines in general any of them cause genetic mutation and are responsible in part of then generating the very dis ease expression that occurs. Doxycycline on the other hand, often used to treat both Lyme and Lepto infections (true infections now not just disease from vaccines) is an antiinflamatory and like aspirin prevents blood statis and clot formation which can be painful, most importantly, doxy is an immune modulator which dampens the MMP’s matrix metaalico proteinases which are responsible for much degeneration in the body. I had advised Astragalus , an herbal immune modulator for cases where exposure to Lyme was possible, However, the more vacinated an individual the more immune compormised and the more senstized to expression of disease. Autoimmune diseae is also a frequent side effect of vaccinations. Knowing that the body turns against all maters of its foundational sturctures like the collagen in their bodies is another reason to avoid immune system mistunement from vaccines. I am sure the use of vaccines is the reason we have so many ACL injuries now, thanks to the autoantibodies produced against self and the triggering of autoimmune disease from vaccines, autoimmune disease in one generation leads to genetic disease in the next. The histocompatibility markers in individuals are responsible for determining the effect of the antigens from vaccines……………..or the antigen from natural infection in response to disease expression. Not many understand that the highjacking of the immune system through inappropiate vaccine administration is actually what we get from intruding on the intelligent design of our given innate immune system. Paralying the cell mediated immune system while atrophying the mucosal immunity and then seriously mistuning the immune system via humora jack loading is the very reason over 90% of the disease we actually hae to deal with is vaccine induced. You don’t have to have trouble due to Lyme vaccines, any vaccines does this.
    Read more on my case against vaccinations http://www.dr-jordan.com


  26. Julie says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12:07pm

    I have dealt with Lyme with both my boys. If it is Lyme and you treat with doxy you will likely see an improvement within 2 days. One of my boys was noticeably feeling better the first day after starting doxy (no joke). He had come up lame in the front prompting us to run a C6 and find he had a very high titer.


  27. Krysta says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12:00pm

    Hi Susan,
    Both of my BC’s tested positive for Lymes when they were 2-ish years old – they were vaccinated for Lymes (b/c I didn’t know any better and listened to my vet at the time). Thru the years, there was never a problem, but in the fall of 2008 Sarge was coming up very lame after training or a trial. I thought it was his age (8) and the fact he’s slightly dysplastic. After a few months, I decided to pull him from agility completely, but he still could barely get up in the morning. A C6 test showed taht the Lymes was ‘acting up’ (as I put it)…he went on antibodies and after just one dose, I could tell he felt better!

    Good luck and much positive vibes to Encore!


  28. Taryn says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 11:46am

    Lyme is VERY prevalent in my area (Northern Virginia.) My older boy has had Lyme twice and so have I ! Unfortunately Ehrlichia is also common and both boys have had that as well. Needless to say I HATE ticks, hate them! In all cases, a 30 day round of doxy brought blood levels back to where they should be. My guys have no side effects from the antibiotic at all, nor did I. Their energy levels improved as well as stiff gates. I certainly think you should consider treating Encore if your regular vet agrees. Improvement is seen within maybe a week after starting the drug. If lameness persists after treatment you will have ruled out Lyme issues.


  29. Jean Emery says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 11:32am

    I have no experience with Lyme disease, but I would also follow up on Natalie’s suggestion about thoroughly checking Encore’s toes. Was struggling with turning problems and intermittent lameness with Kayte for months that we thought stemmed from restricted range of motion in her shoulder, but then upon witnessing her traumatic reaction to a turn on a low jump, zeroed in on the first toe on her front leg. Thought it was broken, but appears to be only a severe ligament strain. Doesn’t show up on straight line moves, but when she pivots on that inside toe–well, let’s just say she avoids pivoting whenver possible. Unfortunately, long rest to support healing seems to be the only prescription, although cold laser and such may help.

    As Natalie suggests, it’s easy to stop looking (for awhile) when you find anomalies (I got fixated on Kayte’s shoulder), but the source of the problem could be farther down. We’re seeing a lot of dogs with toe problems here–some of it may be our hard ground in Arizona, but there’s been a move to indoor facilities and working our dogs on mats, so am wondering if the sudden flare of toe injuries across a number of dogs may be connected.

    Good luck.


  30. Sarah S says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 11:10am

    Hi Susan,

    I am with Natalia and Tracy– even if the blookwork isn’t clearly indicative of Lyme, because she is a dog that plays and works outdoors on a continent that has quite a bit of those bastardly B. Burdorferi lurking around in deer ticks, I would treat her with a good round of doxy just to rule Lyme… false negatives are not uncommon! And you’re not going to do her any harm treating with doxy this once. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it may help on a couple of different levels.

    Lyme is a very strange disease that can manifest in a WIDE variety of ways. For instance, my brother’s first symptom was total heart block (lack of conduction of the heart’s electrical impulses due to Lyme-induced edema of the cardiac muscle)! Had he not been visiting my mom at the time, he might have died. Lyme can also be insidiously subtle. Don’t rule it out as a possible cause of Encore’s issues…

    Best of luck Susan, and keep your chin up!



  31. Mary Lou Hanlon says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 10:57am

    Hi Susan
    Tick borne diseases are a tricky thing. Snap a couple of years ago test positive for Anaplasmosis, (that’s another tick borne diseases covered by the SNAP test) This has flared is ugly head several times since and in fact might be the cause of some challenges she is having right now. I know first hand how worrisome not knowing what is going on can be.

    In any event, I concur with everything that has been written so far. In my area, because Lyme’s is sooo prevalent, most vets would put her on doxy as the treatment is relatively benign and you are seeing intermittent lameness.

    Good luck to you.


  32. MJ says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 10:39am

    My young dog tested positive to the Snap test in the fall of 2008. My vet had the C6 done and the value came back with a low value but hight enough to treat dog. She had one round of doxy (35 days). We tested her again (C6) six months later and all is fine.

    I do not vaccinate for Lyme because it can give a false positive.

    I was using Frontline + at the time but it seems the ticks have develop a tolerance to it. I am now using K9 Advantix (not recommanded if you have cats).

    We had a warm winter, so beware of ticks this spring/summer/fall.

    I wish Encore a speedy recovery


  33. Laurie S. Coger, DVM,CVP says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 10:27am

    If she were my patient, I would treat her for a minimum of 4 weeks, possibly 8. In my experience, the antibody level does not always correlate with the signs the dog shows. I would also consider some herbal/natural immune support for her. Liver support and monitoring would also be prudent.

    One of the most knowledgeable people on tick borne diseases is Dr. Cynthia Holland. http://www.protatek.com/reflab/contact.html

    Best wishes to Encore for a speedy recovery!


  34. Karissa says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 10:21am

    I live in an area that is a hotbed of Lyme disease & Anaplasmosis — And one of my dogs has had both (despite using Frontline Plus religiously). Essentially, these are organisms that never fully leave the dog’s body, so once they have had exposure they will always test positive. For this reason, if we ever run into a time when my dog is in a general funk, has a fever and/or is lame, we will go ahead and hit him with a two-week round of Doxy to see what happens. In general, Doxy is a low-risk antibiotic and it never really hurts to try it. I do still vaccinate all of my dogs against Lyme, mostly because I’ve read that even though they can still be infected, vaccinated dogs tend to not be hit as hard by the effects.

    I would say that it certainly would not harm Encore to try a round of Doxy, but at this point, unfortunately it does not sound like a tick-borne illness is necessarily the cause of her issues. I just posted my dog’s story on yesterday’s blog entry. We hoped it was the Lyme or Anaplasmosis flaring up again, and it turned out to be Addison’s disease.


  35. Erica says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 10:01am

    You should absolutely treat a borderline positive lyme result from a dog that has not been vaccinated- particularly when she’s showing symptoms consistent with lyme disease. You need to hit it with doxy – probably 20-25 days worth and then retest. Retreating as needed. Good luck and positive thoughts to Encore.


  36. Rikke Wriedt says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 9:50am

    Dear Susan
    I was so sorry when I read about Encore yesterday. It’s horrible to have a sick dog and not knowing why. Since they can’t speak their mind I would follow my intuition and if you have a hunch that tells you Encore might be infected with Lyme I would get her on antibiotics right a way.
    I’m still only a vet student but I know enough to look out for those borderline issues. A treatment with antibiotics doesn’t do much harm, it’s not like she needs injections with something toxic. The ‘worst’ thing that could happen is you might get your fantastic Encore back to normal.

    All the best to both of you.


  37. Lisa says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 9:23am

    I have a friend who is suffering from chronic lyme disease. She was tested for the disease here in Canada and the test came back negative (so she was told). Only with more persistence did she get to a more specialized Dr that looked at the test results and find out she had the disease! Trust your gut, look into it further. If testing for Lyme disease is tricky one in humans, I can’t imagine that dogs are any different.


  38. Jan V says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 9:12am

    My older dog, Ajay, tested Lyme positive on the SNAP 3DX test about 3 years ago, so my vet had the C6 Quant Antibody (ELISA) run. She came back at 65 U/ml (>30 U/ml antibody level is considered clinically significant). Recommended treatment with doxycycline and re-test in (6) months. I did that and re-tested. Following treatment she tested at 159 U/ml. Vet expected the value to be closer to 30, and couldn’t explain this finding. He thought she was probably re-exposed. Re-treated with another round of doxycycline, and QUIT with that. Never had her re-tested. IF Ajay ever shows symptoms, I will treat with doxycycline.

    Ajay has NEVER had any lameness nor any other symptoms so I was apprehensive about treating. My fear was that, if I didn’t, she may develop permanent kidney damage. Being that doxycycline is quite harmless, I treated.

    She has never had the vaccination, though it has been recommended by my vet. Another vet recommended a round of doxycycline every year during tick season.(?)

    Without symptoms, I just run a standard blood panel (including thyroid) every year to be sure all else is within normal ranges and keep my fingers crossed.

    So… that being said, I would consider treating Encore with the doxycycline, and see what transpires.


  39. Tracy Sklenar says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 8:53am

    Good for you for reading the bloodwork thoroughly. There are lots of sites on the internet that can give more insight into what the numbers mean.
    As you know, I have been through a fair amount of looking at bloodwork with Rebound and more recently Export. If I hadn’t obsessively read the bloodwork results, Rebound would probably be dead right now.

    Both have had the “low positives” that you mentioned… my vet chose to treat both times. And, those symptoms dissappeared. My vet’s philosophy is that since my dogs are NOT regularly pumped with antibiotics, treating them with a course of doxy couldn’t hurt… and doxy has anti-inflammatory properties as well. His recent thinking is that Export’s physical issues could be a manifestation of lyme in a dog that is well-conditioned.

    Have seen the same good results in many students’ dogs who were treated.

    Have also seen other low positives go untreated, and the symptoms blossomed and worsened with long-term repercussions.

    I don’t know much about the science of it, but I believe these tick diseases are cyclical and you can see different levels in the blood depending on where you are in the cycle.

    My vet (in one of our many discussions, he is very good to put up with all of my questions!!) has seen results that come back 100% perfect looking and 2 weeks later come back 100% positive for the disease.

    Also, which test did you use? Most vets use the SNAP tests, which are not the most reliable. There are plenty of other tests that are more reliable. Also, there are a HUGE variety of different tick related diseases…. don’t stop looking at just lyme!!



  40. Natalia says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 8:50am

    Hi Susan, I´m a vet too and we have a lot of problems with tick diseases in my country (not USA), I think If all the blood parametres are normal (Hematocrit, Hb, protein level) there´s a few change that a lyme disease can be the cause of the lameness, but If you want to try the treatment it´s not a crazy idea, because is not a horrible treatment with a lot of bad effects…It´s only antibiotic treatment.
    I suppose your vet check the dog propertly, but let me ask you If you check the toes of her…I saw some agility dogs with “dark” lameness and vets checking shoulder, elbows..and all the problem was in the toes….
    All my best,



  41. Stacey says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 8:41am

    You can ask for a C6 serum test that will give you specific levels of just the lyme antibody. My dog has been vaccinated and tested positive for over a year. We did the C6 and he needed treatment again. I live in New England, so it’s a constant battle here!


  42. Crystal (and Maisy) says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 8:36am

    My dog HAS been vaccinated- I live in a high tick area, with some lyme around- but even so, I’d ask for the blot test if there was even a tiny bit of suspicion, like that limping. I’m not sure how long that takes to come back, though.


  43. Cheryl Lent says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 8:21am

    ask for a T960 test w/ Antech Labs- it does cover Lyme but also a bunch of other tick born diseases.


  44. Laurie S. Coger, DVM,CVCP says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 7:48am

    If she were my patient, I would treat her for a minimum of 4 weeks, possibly 8. In my experience, the antibody level does not always correlate with the signs the dog shows. I would also consider some herbal/natural immune support for her. Liver support and monitoring would also be prudent.

    One of the most knowledgeable people on tick borne diseases is Dr. Cynthia Holland. http://www.protatek.com/reflab/contact.html

    Best wishes to Encore for a speedy recovery!


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