Lyme in Children and Pets
I can’t stress enough the importance of doing regular Tick Checks on your Children and Pets. Lyme in Children is more common than you may think. I screen adolescent and children patients yearly at the end of Summer. To my dismay, approximately 20% of the kids I test come back with positive for Lyme Results. In Children, Lyme can be tricky because it imitates so many other conditions. If you child plays in the grass or goes to Summer Camp. request a yearly Lyme Screen. Early detection makes for early interventions. Early interventions can prevent chronic disease and suffering for your child.
You get me? Read on…
Children with Lyme disease
Children with Lyme disease have special issues. Since they can’t always explain what feels wrong, they may just come across as cranky and irritable. They suffer when their bodies hurt, when their illness disrupts their sleep at night, when they struggle in school, when they don’t even feel like playing. They may feel confused, lost and betrayed by parents and teachers who fail to recognize that they are sick and need help.
Mothers and fathers may not understand what the child’s normal baseline is. Is this the “terrible twos” or “the nine-year-old change” or is something really wrong?
Because the symptoms of Lyme disease can be non-specific, vague and changeable, adults may not even realize these children are ill. They may suspect them of making things up to gain attention or to avoid school. Children with Lyme often have trouble in the classroom because the disease can contribute to learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
Children are especially vulnerable to tick-borne diseases because they are physically low to the ground, where the ticks are. They play in leaves, roll on grass, cuddle with pets, and otherwise increase their exposure to ticks.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF LYME in CHILDREN:
- severe fatigue unrelieved by rest
- nausea, abdominal pain
- impaired concentration
- poor short-term memory
- inability to sustain attention
- difficulty thinking and expressing thoughts
- difficulty reading and writing
- being overwhelmed by schoolwork
- difficulty making decisions
- uncharacteristic behavior
- outbursts and mood swings
- joint pain
- noise and light sensitivity
Many Children don’t report a Tick Attachment and often they do not have the Bull’s Eye Rash.
If your Child exhibits any of these Symptoms…. Ask your Medical Doctor to do a Lyme: Elisa and Western Blot to Rule Out Lyme Disease!
Pets and Lyme disease
People who own pets should be particularly concerned about ticks, both for their animals’ sake and for their own. Dogs, cats, and horses may contract Lyme disease and other bacteria carried by ticks, including bartonella, babesia, erhlichia, anaplasma, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick paralysis. Symptoms in pets may include joint problems, limping, or lethargy.
Furthermore, ticks on your pets can be a danger to you. Animal fur can act like a “tick magnet.” You may be exposed to ticks when you snuggle with your cat or dog, or when you ride your horse. Pet owners should check their pets for ticks and use tick collars or other topical flea and tick treatments.
Dogs provide a good indication of a likely exposure of their owners to infected ticks as they may visit the same outdoor areas. Rates of infection in dogs are regarded as “sentinels” of human infection and may be used to monitor infection rates. The CDC acknowledges that the more dogs with Lyme disease, the higher the frequency in humans.
Animals are generally not viewed as a direct source of Lyme or coinfections. However, cats may directly infect humans with bartonella through scratching or biting. Studies in some parts of the United States show that up to 80% of stray cats are infected with bartonella.
If you live in an area where there are Deer and Small Mammals in your yard, it is recommended that you have your Dog Screened for Lyme Disease yearly.