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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At last weekend's field trial, several people were discussing tick diseases and treatments. Is there a standard protocol for caring for dogs that live in areas known for tick diseases?

Do we run a panel annually or every 6 months?

Once a dog is exposed to Lyme or any other tick disease, will that dog always test positive on a tick panel?

Do we give Doxy annually rather than test? If we give Doxy annually, how much do we give and for how long? Is there a concern that overuse of Doxy will cause Doxy to become an ineffective antibiotic at some future point?

Some here have reported that Frontline Plus is not as effective as it used to be. Vets in this area offer Vectra or Certifect. Is anyone seeing improved protection with these products or any other product?
 

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My boy was recently diagnosed with Lyme despite being on Vectra, so I've had several conversations with vets and the folks from Vectra. He was negative 4 months ago, (which was a repeat test due to a mild positive for ehrlichiosis) and is "significant positive" for Lyme now.
The TBDs are horrible this year. We test every 6 months, a full panel sent out to Michigan State University. The reason for not using the SNAP4DX (in office screening test) is that it does not test for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,which is known to be in this area.
We don't just give doxy annually, because it doesn't treat all of the TBDs. Unfortunately, co-infections with more than one are very common. And, as you have said, the risk of creating resistant strains exists. If you do opt to treat without testing, there is some disagreement as to how much/how long, but the accepted protocol in this area is 4-6 weeks (6 is preferable if the dog tolerates the doxy well, which most do), at roughly 100 mg/20 pounds of body weight/day.
I have found, in this area, that Vectra is the most effective although some people are using Certifect, also. The Vectra repels the ticks in addition to killing them, whereas Frontline only kills them. That's why my vet prefers it.
I spoke to the people from Vectra because this is the third time my dog has been diagnosed with a TBD in the past year, despite faithful use of Vectra. He was diagnosed "very low positive" for Lyme, no treatment suggested, a follow-up test was negative. Then he was later diagnosed "very low positive" for Ehrlichiosis, no treatment suggested, the follow-up test was negative. Now he was diagnosed "significant positive" for Lyme, treatment required.
They told me that the problem with ALL of the spot-ons is that their efficacy decreases the more often the dog is exposed to water. So while their literature claims that you can bathe and swim the dog, that's only true to a point. After about 3 weeks, if the dog swims 2-3 times per week, the effectiveness is about 80%. (Frontline is even lower). This may be why we are seeing so many hunt/field dogs with TBDs.
Their recommendation was to "talk to your vet about alternative treatment schedules". I consulted my own vet, plus 2 others, and they all said that dogs who have heavy water exposure, who have high exposure to ticks, should be treated every 3 weeks, not once a month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I spoke to the people from Vectra because this is the third time my dog has been diagnosed with a TBD in the past year, despite faithful use of Vectra. He was diagnosed "very low positive" for Lyme, no treatment suggested, a follow-up test was negative. Then he was later diagnosed "very low positive" for Ehrlichiosis, no treatment suggested, the follow-up test was negative. Now he was diagnosed "significant positive" for Lyme, treatment required.
They told me that the problem with ALL of the spot-ons is that their efficacy decreases the more often the dog is exposed to water. So while their literature claims that you can bathe and swim the dog, that's only true to a point. After about 3 weeks, if the dog swims 2-3 times per week, the effectiveness is about 80%. (Frontline is even lower). This may be why we are seeing so many hunt/field dogs with TBDs.
Their recommendation was to "talk to your vet about alternative treatment schedules". I consulted my own vet, plus 2 others, and they all said that dogs who have heavy water exposure, who have high exposure to ticks, should be treated every 3 weeks, not once a month.
Applying flea/tick more often may make sense. In the most recent issue of Just Labs, there is an article on ticks and flea/tick medication. The advice is to make sure the dog is dry 48 hours before application and 48 hours after. I have been using a 24 hour before/24 hour after schedule and I am finding ticks on my dogs.
 

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I do 48 hours both before and after. I was told that the skin has to have oil on it for the product to spread out completely and effectively, which is why the 48 hours before using it, to allow the skin to cover itself thoroughly with oil again.
 

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BTW, with the Vectra I do not find ticks on my dog, so I suspect it does repel pretty well. The people I train with find ticks, whereas I do not, although I check carefully. Obviously, though, some are getting on him.
 

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For years, I've applied Frontline every three weeks during heavy tick season, also with the no bath before or after because it does spread using the oils in the coat, not that I give alot of baths to my dogs in the first place. I don't find many ticks on my dogs that are attached, though plenty get on us. I'm trying Certifect this year on some of the dogs, (which is Frontline with Amitraz added), to see if it does better at just flat out repelling ticks. I don't like the smell the first few days but seems to be working. I doxy my dogs twice a year for a month at a time. With all that, still get some TBD stuff slip through the cracks with dogs that can't be on doxy, but overall, for as many dogs as I have in the field, living in major tick area, I don't have much in the way of outright TBD issues. Friends' dogs in the area seem to be dealing continually with Lyme, erhlichiosis, anaplasmosis,the big three around here.
 

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I've tried Frontline, Advantix II, Revolution, and Advantage Multi. Long story short is that if you're using one of these and in a heavy tick area, the dog is going to get some ticks and not all of them will be killed. I don't care how long someone waits for the stuff to spread in the skin. Frontline seems to keep fleas away pretty well but was weak against ticks. Advantix II was considerably better. Revolution and Advantage Multi seem to be about the same. I was recently in an area with a dense population of ticks. A friend of mine pulled 32 embedded ticks off of him in one day and he had on repellent. Another handler had a NSDTR there and he pulled what had to be a dozen or more ticks off that dog and it was on Frontline and those are just the ticks I saw him pull off. One of my dogs was on Revolution and the other was on Advantage Multi. Each had a few small "seed" ticks embedded that we found the first day and a few more were found alive and well the next day. I'm just not buying that anything out there completely repels and kills ticks.
 

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No, I don't believe anything completely stops ticks from embedding, haven't found anything that completely repels ticks in the first place either, spray or topical. But I can say that if I don't put on Frontline, I find a whole lot more ticks and I know when the 3 week period is ending because I start seeing more ticks. Reduction in numbers is better than nothing, IMO. Doxy is for those that get through the first line of defense.
 

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How often do you guys test for tick diseases? Is it routine or only when you find one? I've never had to concern myself with it before growing up in the west they are not that common and even when you do find them they don't usually carry lyme....however this is the first year I have ever had to pull ticks off my dog and I've lost count (ten this season, maybe?). Every time she goes swimming I seem to find at least one. Still, lyme is not that common here. Does it only take one tick?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I do a tick panel annually when the dogs go in for vaccinations.

Vectra--was told by a local pro that they switched to Certifect because the dogs had a reaction to Vectra. I am not sure if it was a skin rash or what the reaction was.

I have used ProMeris and been happy with that. Yes, it smells for the first couple of days. I believe it also uses Amitraz. I do not use ProMeris on my females because it warns against using it on pregnant or lactating females. I decided I wouldn't use it on females at all. I only use it on my males.

I have seen people use a flea/tick collar in addition to topical. The collar comes off for the time the dog is being worked, and goes back on as soon as the e-collar comes off.
 
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