After following several dogs and puppies with coinfections struggle with doxycycline antibiotic treatment alone- with our vets'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 for dogs in foster care:
CIPRO SIDE AFFECT: While many of our rescued dogs have benefitted from being treated with Cipro, we have seen some cases of increased Lyme Rage with some dogs and have discontinued use.
We assume if a dog is positive for one infection- they could have 3 or 4 including Anaplasma, Babesia and or Bartonella. There are also many strains of each disease and every county or every state many have a different type of Lyme disease. 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.
We know that once a dog is formally adopted the new owner's vet may want to change the treatment plan or go without a treatment plan. IBR provides all our adopters with as much information about the health of the rescue dog including all CBC/Chems and also tick serology. We hope the adopter will at least repeat a CBC/Chem annually because most vets can provide that service while many may not have access to the IDEXX Tick Panel #371. Looking at the overall health of the dog internally is the best defense if a chronic disease may be causing health issues that an external exam might not show including checking the dog's internal organ health and their immune system.
We take all of our attending vets' health care recommendations seriously and with much consideration and are glad to partner with many that agree with our treatment protocols. Recently I was visiting with another vet whose own dog with Ehrlichia turned 15. She said, "Thank goodness for chronic disease" as her dog may not have lived this long without her long term antibiotic care.
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. Being an at risk dog and based on her CBC/Chem, Trudy was treated proactively for tick borne disease. Her first Antech testing was negative but was retested with the IDEXX 371 IFA serology and she was indeed positive for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, (RMSF). She was medicated while nursing and at 5 weeks old, the puppies received 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- and at 7 months old we would start their CBC/Chems and tick panels prior to their spays and neuters. Many puppies 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. We are sure that treating mom and pups proactively helped save their lives.
Trudy had a lot of anxiety issues and after a lot 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. Dr. John explained to me that he started Trudy on Cipro and within days her anxiety started to go away. 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 especially now because he brought IDEXX labs into his practice 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 is happy to test dogs with suspicion of tick borne disease in his office at home and suggest treatment options if the dog is positive. 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