In 2009, Juno was hospitalized for 5 days with a high fever and joint inflammation. Our fabulous vets at The Whole Pet Vet and SAGE Centers for Veterinary Care ran a full panel of tick disease tests and the results were negative. We were at cross roads of how to treat her illness as we had no idea. The options were to either treat this as an autoimmune disease by giving steroids to bring down inflammation or to treat it as an unknown bacterial infection with broad spectrum antibiotics. It was a scary time because so much was unknown. If we treated with steroids and it was a bacterial infection it could have been fatal to poor 2-year old Juno who was so full of life. Thankfully, we opted for antibiotics. After a month of treatment, Juno recovered thanks to my excellent team of veterinarians who were open to doing whatever worked for Juno.
Fast forward to 2013 when I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Juno still struggled with joint pain, which I attributed to hip dysplasia (for which she was diagnosed via x-rays and symptoms). Still, how she struggled when she moved seemed so much like how I struggled when I got out of chairs or out of bed, always in excruciating pain. I had to wonder, though in 2009 her tick panels were negative, if she had undetected Lyme disease too, given that tick tests for Lyme are so abominably inaccurate. To satisfy my curiosity, I had our vet ran the tests again. Though her Lyme titers still showed negative, her tests revealed a past infection of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Tick Disease! In other words, her infection in 2009 was likely from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever even though the tests at the time were negative!
The moral of this story is that tick disease tests can be horribly inaccurate! This is especially true for Lyme disease. The standard ELISA Lyme disease test has a 60% false negative results. Thanks our vets treating Juno with broad-spectrum antibiotics, despite a negative tick disease test result, Juno recovered and continues doing what she was put on this earth to do: strut her fluffy Jodhpurs and tease the cracker dog sibling she lives with.
How is it that dogs can get treated for tick disease despite a negative tick disease test result, but humans being treated by a doctor following IDSA guidelines, cannot? When you want to ask a medical person about tick disease, if it’s not an ILADS doctor, ask a veterinarian. They know more about tick disease than the standard human medical doctors.
Juno would like to challenge YOU, Internet readerrs, to take a Bite out of Lyme disease!
NOTE: Limes are toxic to animals. While it’s fun to include them in your challenge, please do not have them eat or partake in biting a lime!
Specifically on the Facebook scene, Juno challenges: Dogtor Hilary Wheeler and her team at The Whole Pet Vet, Khyra & her mom Phyillis Hennel Wise & Chili, Frosti and their mom Samira Mahjoub Tapia to take a Bite out of Lyme Disease!