Saturday, June 11, 2011

Morgan...Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Dogs And Cattle, (Chickens?)

Since Morgan is currently being treated with Doxycycline, (4 tablets once a day for 21 days, because she tested positive for anaplasmosis, and Lyme Disease) I have become very curious about Lyme Disease and why she wasn't sick before the treatment started. I do think the Doxycycline is making her a bit nauseous.

Morgan had gone to the vets to get her shots and the anaplasmosis and Lyme Disease antibodies were found during the blood test.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find most of the information I found about Lyme Disease was about its effect on cattle since they lose millions of dollars a year because of Lyme Disease.

It seems that if the cattle contract the disease when they are young they can survive (and then don't show symptoms) but then become infected carriers, however if they get the disease when they are older they can easily die.

So, I got to wondering if Morgan was bitten when she was a puppy or fairly young might she be an infected carrier? Or maybe it doesn't work the same way on dogs? I searched a lot of sites, but didn't find an answer.

I did find that since blood is a vector that the deer tick, the horse fly and man can be responsible for transmitting the disease (when working with animals using different instruments that would get blood on them such as: when dehorning, tattooing, when tagging ears, using needles, etc. Sounds like if the infected blood is moved to a new host the disease can come along with the blood.

And deer ticks don't jump! That's comforting... but they do get on you when you brush against foliage and they climb on you. So, when I'm out working in the forest I do take the precautions of staying away from bushes, having my jeans tucked in my boots, wearing long sleeve shirts and light clothing, and checking to see if there are any ticks crawling on me.

Then the question rises... do chickens get Lyme Disease? Well, I found even less information about chickens than about dogs, but from the scanty info I found it sounds like they can, but they are more likely to be infectious when young.

This page from the US National Library Of Medicine is the closest I could get to some information about chickens and Lyme Disease.

But mostly chickens are sited as good to have free ranging on your property because they eat deer ticks. 

Then there is the neat info that aside from not jumping the boy deer ticks don't take a blood meal, so they don't transmit the disease even though they will attach. And that not all deer ticks have bitten an infected animal so they don't all have Lyme disease (unless they got it from their mom.)

There are a lot of interesting articles on the Internet about deer ticks and Lyme disease.
The American Lyme Disease Foundation page has lots of good information with great photos of deer ticks.
For me... The UCDavis Veterinary Medicine page from 1998 has the most easily read and understood explanation of anaplasmosis and its effect on cattle.
 Photo by Scott Bauer. (USDA ARS) 
This page Lyme Disease In Dogs has some video on how to remove a tick from your dog... and information on
*how to recognize Lyme Disease in dogs.*
I do remember a time when Morgan had a hurt paw, but we thought she hurt it running around outside.

As for vaccines? It seems there was one but it was withdrawn... and there is supposed to be one for cattle? I haven't been able to find a definitive answer because it depends on what page I get on my searches... there is a lot of contradictory information out there.

My best thought is if there is any question about ticks and possible sickness... see a vet or doctor, depending on the patient of course.

I've been doing these searches when I come in the house to cool off after raking for a while. I have most of the driveway rock cover surfaces raked and I'm working on clearing the dirt area behind the house of leaves and branches. (Kristine just came home and I haven't started dinner... oops... )

Now I'm worried about deer ticks... but the chickens are out there following me around scratching up the leaves and ... looking for deer ticks. Good little hens!


LindaG said...

Maybe you need a guinea hen or two, too. They're supposed to be great at eating ticks. We plan on having some when we move to the farm.

I hope Morgan gets well soon!

Michaele said...

Thanks for the info. My dog is always exposed to ticks and we remove them daily. I was curious what the symptoms were for lyme disease and checked out your link. Thankfully we don't have that...yet.

John Gray said...

ticks worry me... thanks for the education cal... good post gal

Lana C. said...

I'm adding you to my blog page list of "Favorite Neighbors." This tick post is very interesting. We have acreage, are about to retire and move to it within a year. I found a tick on me a couple of months ago, before it got seated in me. My husband had never seen one up close like that. I have since I grew up going to the woods. Hate those things. Good to know the chickens are smacking them up. I have chickens and will definitely be glad that they eat all of these little pests when on our land!