Tick Borne Illness Diagnosis & Treatment Protocols/ Success Stories

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Dogs & Puppies Diagnosed and Undergoing Treatment for Vector Borne Diseases

New Treatment Protocols for Coinfections

After following several dogs and puppies with coinfections struggle with doxycycline antibiotic treatment alone- with our vet's support- we are now using additional antibiotics with much success in our infected foster dog population. Because coinfections may show up on a second or third tick serology- we always repeat the same test. Here are our current testing and treatment protocols:

  • Mandatory IDEXX 371 IFA serology panel for Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. IDEXX 371 Positive titers are the following: Ehrlichia 1:25, Lyme disease 1:100, RMSF 1:25. I prefer this test to find the low titers for infection for Ehrlichia and RMSF- HOWEVER- this test often misses low titers for Lyme disease consistenty. To look for Babesia Canis we are using either NC State serology, MSU's Serology or Texas A & M's Tick Serology.
  • Mandatory CBC/Chem (IDEXX preferred due to tighter values plus the SDMA values). We are currently tracking HIGHS and LOWS in lab work to note possible markers for disease.
  • Lyme Disease: Amoxicillin and Doxycycline or Cipro and Doxycycline- MINIMUM 6 months to a year. Repeat Tick Panel and CBC/Chem. We always assume there are co infections hiding and many dogs that are negative first testing will show antibodies 2-4 months once antibiotics start.
  • Ehrlichia: Amoxicillin and Doxycycline or Cipro and Doxycycline- MINIMUM 6 months to a year. Repeat Tick Panel and CBC/Chem. (Assume there are co infections hiding).
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Cipro and Doxycycline- 6 months up to a year or more. RMSF is the most troubling disease and many dogs can become carriers. Repeat Tick Panel and CBC/Chem. (Assume there are co infections hiding).
  • Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Amoxicillin and Doxycycline or Cipro and Doxycycline- MINIMUM 6 months to a year. Repeat Tick Panel and CBC/Chem. (Assume there are co infections hiding).
  • Lyme disease and Ehrlichia: Amoxicillin and Doxycycline or Cipro and Doxycycline- MINIMUM 6 months to a year. We have also used Baytril 3 weeks to mix things up but it will not clear up a Lyme disease infection. Repeat IDEXX 371 Tick Panel and CBC/Chem. (Assume there are co infections hiding).
  • Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Amoxicillin and Doxycycline or Cipro and Doxycycline- MINIMUM 6 months to a year. Repeat Tick Panel and CBC/Chem. (Assume there are co infections hiding).
  • Babesia and Lyme disease: Amoxicillin and Doxycycline or Cipro and Doxycycline- MINIMUM 6 months to a year. Repeat Tick Panel and CBC/Chem and follow dog's progress. (Assume there are co infections hiding). This is new territory for us and we are reviewing the best treatment options for the Babesia coinfection.
  • Babesia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Amoxicillin and Doxycycline or Cipro and Doxycycline- MINIMUM 6 months to a year. This is new territory for us and we are reviewing the best treatment options for the Babesia coinfection.
  • We assume if a dog is positive for one infection- they could have 3 or 4 including Anaplasma, Babesia and or Bartonella. If there are swollen lymph nodes we can assume Lyme disease and Bartonella. After many years of testing, treating and testing, we do know that Lyme disease is not curable- it is manageable- same for the co infections as annually you never know what antibodies will show up with follow up testing. Long term antibiotic treatment even a few times a year can help boost your infected dog's immune system and we are finding that long term treatment is helping our infected dog population live well into their teens and also avoid chronic health issues.

    Dr. John Rimkunas/ Rosie and Trudy

    In the spring of 2015 an application came through from a Dr. John Rimkunas, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He and his family had moved to Orland Park, IL from Texas and while looking for a new pet for his family- his daughter Julia, he came upon Rosie the Pointer. As he looked into adding her to his family, he also came upon IBR's website and all the information I had been compiling about tick borne disease over the years. He was impressed with the information provided and put in his application that he wanted to adopt Rosie especially because he wanted to learn more about Lyme disease in dogs. A few months after Rosie's adoption, I somehow schmoozed Dr. John and family into fostering a very pregnant beagle that needed a place to go from a hoarding situation in Kentucky. Trudy arrived via Pilots N Paws and 5 days later delivered 9 puppies. Trusting my advise, he started medicating Trudy while her first Antech testing was negative and at 5 weeks he started medicating the puppies with liquid amoxicillin. At 9 weeks old the puppies moved out and their foster to adopters were instructed to treat them with the doxycycline and amoxicillin provided. Trudy was then tested with the IDEXX 371 IFA serology and she was indeed positive for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, (RMSF). The puppies thrived in their care and post adoption many were tested and some did show antibodies for Lyme disease but Ehrlichia was also found in one puppy so we can assume Trudy had at least Ehrlichia, Lyme and RMSF.

    Trudy had a lot of anxiety issues and after a bit of research and talking with a Lyme Literate MD, she started on ciprofloxacin and it was like a miracle treatment for her. Most of her anxiety went away and instead of hiding anytime someone came to the door for a vet appointment, Trudy confidently met the new arrivals. As she was always afraid of me- she came to the door wagging her tail. While cipro worked well for Trudy, it did not work so well for Rosie when she had a set back. Rosie was treated with Doxy and Amoxicillin prior to adoption and when she was retreated with Doxy, her bladder and peeing issues cleared up.

    Dr. John tests and treats most of the IBR incoming rescue dogs as he brought in IDEXX labs because of the 371 IFA Serology testing and has started to see some of the infected dog health and behavior issues we have noted for many years. We feel very blessed that he has become a huge part of our adoption successes. While his in home practice is based out of Orland Park- if he has appointment openings, he will test dogs with suspicion of tick borne disease in his office at home. For appointment information please contact Dr. John Rinkunas here: Rimkunas Home Veterinary Services/ Dr. John Rimkunas, 7928 Wheeler Dr., Orland Park, IL, Cell 708-646-9632

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