Tick Borne Disease

Yesterday, a woman posted to Sheepdog-L asking for help in determining what might be wrong with her three year old Border Collie. The dog went lame last year on her right rear leg. She laid her off for several weeks, brought her back slowly, but she was still lame. She laid her off again for three and a half months and tried to bring her back again. This time, she didn’t limp but had a strange gait.  She took her to several different vets including an orthopedic specialist who found a slight abnormality in one of her vertebrae. Give a specialist a little bit of time and (likely) a lot of money and they are bound to find something wrong.

The dog has gotten progressively worst and is in so much pain, she can barely function. She is now lame in her right rear and left front legs and shakes like she has a fever.

I wish I had a dollar for every response to that post blaming it on tick borne disease (“TBD”). This isn’t the first time that an individual has posted with lameness (and other) issues with their dogs and it is blamed on TBD. What is even more disconcerting is the number of people who have suggested that she immediately start the dog on the antibiotic Doxycycline.  Your vet won’t give it to you?  No problem, buy the form of Doxycycline that is used for fish or birds.

Is TBD that much of a problem in dogs these days?  I haven’t seen any form of it in my dogs and they surely have had their share of attached ticks.  Could it be that the immune systems of these dogs is so compromised due to over-vaccination and indiscriminate use of antibiotics that they are more susceptible to TBD?  Could Frontline, Advantix, etc. be contributing to this susceptibility?

This year, I haven’t used any form of flea or tick prevention.  Early in the year, the dogs were covered with ticks, but as the summer has progressed, they are picking up fewer and fewer ticks.  They’ve had no fleas, nor have the cats.  My dogs are all out in the tall grass and woods on a daily basis.  I know the ticks are out there because I have had them on me when I come out of the fields.  I have occasionally used Frontline in the past, but will not use it again.  I am more afraid of the drug than the ticks.

My good friend Helene has written extensively on rear end paralysis in dogs.  She gets a tremendous amount of hits on her Blog from people looking for information on rear end paralysis.  Helene believes that rear end paralysis is likely caused by the rabies vaccine and I agree with her.

It is unfortunate that symptoms of disease are more often than not blamed on insects or other parasites, bacteria or other nasties and so few people will even consider the damage that vaccines might be doing.

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