Friday, I took Rachel (the Wild Child) in for her annual exam; everything was good. Early Saturday AM, the vet emailed me that she'd tested positive for Lyme disease (negative for HW, Ehrlichia and anaplasmosis via SNAP test; she was negative for all four a year ago). She's not symptomatic (insofar as we could tell --- except see below) and no behavioral changes that I've observed.
Vet suggested drawing a fresh sample (at some undetermined point in the future; "no rush"), sending it off and having the lab check for an active infection. He's not anxious to put her on antibiotics (doxy) immediately, unless I say otherwise. While I understand and might otherwise agree with his thinking w/re overuse of antibiotics, philosophical considerations fly right out the window when it's my dog.
Big headache for me is that I've not encountered Lyme disease before (human or canine), so I'm operating at a disadvantage. I spent the weekend reading everything I could find and now I've got questions for members who've dealt with this.
1. Can anyone point me to published data on the SNAP test? I'm particularly interested in finding out about sensitivity indices, rates of false positives and negatives, etc. So far, I've located lots of advertising, but little hard data. Very annoying!
2. What is the likelihood that Rachel's subclinical now rather than asymptomic? If it's possible that she's subclinical would it be wiser to start antibiotics now --- before getting a retest and possibly confirming an active infection? She's not limping, off her food, or otherwise altered. Nor did she show any joint or abdominal tenderness/sensitivity during her physical. The only thing that I've noticed is that she's been generally itchy and licking her paws a lot lately (past month or so). I checked them over very carefully, several times, and haven't seen anything amiss, so I put it down to an allergic reaction. You'd think we were in Seattle with the rain we've had this year.
3. What's a sensible time frame between first and second testing? Two days? A month? Several months? What literature I could locate on retesting is pretty opaque and inconsistent when it's not. Some suggest waiting several months for an asymptomatic dog, others recommend a shorter time frame (several weeks).
4. As to the retesting, what test would forum members recommend -- the C6 or the Cornell Multiplex, and why?
5. One of the things that most concerns me about Lyme is the possibility/likelihood of kidney and liver damage. I've read several suggestions to (a) assay kidney and liver function now (to establish a baseline, I imagine) and (b) homeopathically detox the dog before and/or during treatment. What do members think of that approach and, if deemed sensible, how would one go about detoxing?
5a. Related to the above question, can anyone recommend a homeopathic vet in the DC area? My vet's very good clinically, has a great touch w/animals (even the Wild Child likes him) and is very responsive with me. Unfortunately, homeopathy isn't his strong suit, which he'd probably admit himself. Well, one can't have everything, although he is
6. If you've experienced Lyme disease with one or more of your dogs, what treatment protocol did you follow and what were the results? Anything that you would do differently?
My apologies for the length of this, I've had to do a crash course in tick borne diseases. I'll be pithier in the future.