Ouch! I hate ticks.

Since Bronte came home I’ve been worried because she seemed very ouchy and was reluctant to eat. All kinds of bad scenarios, from hips to spine to infection, were playing out in my brain.

We just got back from the vet with a diagnosis: One of the highest Lyme titres they’ve seen (the techs were all exclaiming because the Lyme dot on the snap test came up dark purple before the control dot even began to color in – they’d never seen that before) and anaplasmosis. 

The good news is that her hips and spine are perfect. The bad news is that she’s in a lot of pain and feels like crap. And it’s likely that she’s had a subclinical infection for a while that flared when she was stressed from caring for the puppies, so it’s been going on for months. Acute infections, like Bramble had, are pretty easy to cure. When anaplasmosis becomes chronic, it can move into the joints and, more important, the bone marrow. So we had blood sent out to check her platelet count and we’ll be pushing doxycycline for a month and then re-checking the blood. 

She’s going to be fine, and this should not have affected the puppies at all. We’ll know in a few months whether this is something we’ve knocked out or whether we’ll have to manage it a little more actively over the longer term. 

My vet is convinced that the ticks are developing a resistance to Frontline, because the positive rates are so high even on dogs who are meticulously maintained. I don’t know what we’re going to do in the future – we’ve obviously hit a technological bottleneck where we can’t prevent it and curing it is not a hundred percent either. 

For obvious reasons, she’s going to stay with me for the forseeable future, at least until we get the infection(s) under control. We’ll keep you updated.

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9 thoughts on “Ouch! I hate ticks.

  1. OH SHOOT! I’m sorry ya’ll! Poor Bronte 😦 Luck just doesn’t get much better for you, does it!

    Hope she heals up soon, and there’s no more drama. Ticks are scary, and I hope they never decide to move to this area. Fleas are the worse thing we deal with here!

  2. I hate ’em too. Lyme is almost endemic in this area (washington DC metro region). So very unhappy to hear that Bronte is sick, but so very happy that you all caught it and that she is under treatment.

  3. I hate ticks. They are out in droves this spring. I pulled one off the back of my own neck in the middle of the night last night. It didn’t make me happy.

  4. So sorry to hear this! I hope Bronte will be better soon. With all this in mind, since we go back and forth to MA, I’m going to put Stella on Revolution instead of Frontline. My vet was recommending it anyway as he feels it’s more effective against the ticks. Am going to have Tyler checked for Lyme as well. Its all over the cape where we go!

  5. Susan – your vet is wrong, sorry. Revolution only works against dog ticks (not against deer ticks, that carry Lyme) and it works very slowly. The studies the manufacturers conducted didn’t even check for tick kills until 3 days after application, where “some” efficacy was seen, the kill increased at 5 days, and was 100% at 21 days. That’s completely useless, because 48 hours of tick attachment is the magic number for transmission of tick-borne diseases.

    I don’t like Revolution for other reasons as well – it is a type of ivermectin and is absorbed into the blood instead of just sitting on the skin. In order to be effective against skin parasites AND intestinal worms AND heartworm, it needs to be given at many times the dosage of ivermectin that we give as heartworm preventative. When you can use a combination of gentler medications to accomplish the same (or better) result, I always prefer to go that way.

    There is no great solution right now for ticks. The current technologies either kill with a broad-spectrum insecticide that doesn’t work all that well and is harsh on the dog and on YOU (Advantix uses permethrin, Revolution uses an ivermectin, Preventic uses amitraz), or they use a gentler targeted insecticide that ticks seem to have developed a resistance to (Frontline), or they use a targeted insecticide that is very effective but only works for two weeks at most (Comfortis). Trust me, if I knew ANYTHING that reliably worked, I’d be using it.

  6. sounds like you need to get those guinea hens then… wow, I’m so sorry all three dogs have gotten Lyme now! I imagine you’re keeping a sharp eye on the girls for symptoms now too. I have yet to see a tick here, and haven’t had any problems with fleas, so I guess there are *some* advantages to having animals in the desert. Once again THANK YOU for the great information on the different treatment options available and the pros/cons of each one.

    Love the new “Cast of Characters” sidebar. Hope Doug’s recovery went well!

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