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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Did we catch Lyme Disease from our cat?

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Author Topic: Did we catch Lyme Disease from our cat?
zeitgeist
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Dear Group,

I had a IgeneX Western Blot Lyme Disease test come back positive one month ago. Nick Harris at IgeneX says my results show I've had Lyme Disease for over a year. The results show I also have Erlicia.

I'm waiting on results to see if I have the other co-infections.

I have been taking doxycycline 200 m.g. twice a day for two weeks.

My husband wanted to know if he had Lyme Disease too, so he was tested with the IgeneX Western Blot, and he found out yesturday that he was positive, too.

His results, like mine, show that he has had it for over a year.

He has not tested for co-infections yet.

My husband started 200 m.g. doxycycline twice a day, yesturday.

Both of us have a three-month prescription of doxycycline at 400 m.g. per day, divided into two doses, of 200 m.g. with each dose.

My husband and I were talking last night, wondering aloud about our syptoms, how they were similar to eachother, and how they were different, and when they started for each of us.

We both could see that things worsened for both of us at about the same time that we acquired our pet cat, about two years ago.

Our pet cat was from a friend of a friend from a church group. The cat "needed a new home," because in the family where the cat was living, the little boy, aged four, was "very sick," and it coinsided with "acquiring a new cat."

The family with the cat referred to the boy's sickness as a "cat allergy." The family already had several dogs, aparently, the dogs did not cause any "allergy" symptoms in the little boy.

The family told us that the cat had been discovered roaming around free in a parking lot, and after taking it to the vet, and giving it its various traditional shots, it went home with the family.

When we first got our cat delivered to our house, we very soon discovered that she had a tape worm.

Now we are wondering if she had anything else as well, such as Bartonella, Babesia, Erlicia, and Lyme Disease.

Dr. James Schaller wrote famous books about Bartonella and Babesia.

I talked to him on the phone one time, to ask him about the best way to test myself for Bartonella and Babesia, since he is an expert on those two diseases.

This is something he said while on the phone with me: "What people don't realize is that when they have pets, they can get Bartonella and Babesia, simply by being licked on their skin, or their leg by their pet--because the bacteria is carried in the pet's saliva."

Our cat licks us all the time.

Our cat's vet told us our cat had "bad gingivitus." (Is Gingivitus a symptom of Bartonella?)

The vet said our cat needed a dental visit for a thorough teeth cleaning.

We did that, and follow-up care for the cat involved daily antibiotics for our cat.

After using the antibiotics on our cat, I thought we had accidentally been given someone else's pet's medicine, a tranquilizer, by mistake.

On antibiotics, our pet was losing her balance, walking into furniture and banging her head on things, falling down, and not acting like herself--acting especially drowsy.

When I described this to the vet, the vet said: "that's weird, well, stop the antibiotics then, she didn't really need it anyway, it was just a precaution."

Now I'm wondering if the cat's behavior was a "herxheimer," and if she has bartonella, babesia, or lyme disease.

I'm wondering if my husband and I caught Lyme Disease and if I also caught Erlicia from our cat.

I want to get my cat tested properly for Lyme Disease, Babesia, and Bartonella, but I don't know what labs and what tests are reliable for cats, because so many are not reliable for people.

Does anyone have any tips about how to get our cat tested properly and reliably, and what tests to ask for, and what labs to use?

If our cat gave all this to us, then we need to treat the source of all the problems!

Thanks for your help,
Zeitgeist

Posts: 44 | From Indianapolis | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Geet3721
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Up ^ Very interested in this as I have asked my self the same questions over and over. . . I never saw a tick bit or rash or antyhing and I've been diagnosed with bart and Lyme and I have three kitties.

Anyone?

--------------------
When the going gets tough. . . I'll keep fighting!
Ms. Geet3721

New LLMD, New abx, New life coming right up!!!!

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Bobidor
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I've had Lyme symptoms on and off for over 10 years.

A few days after bringing home a cat from the SPCA, in March 2007, I started having symptoms I'd never experienced before. Mostly neurological ones. This time, they were not on and off. They were a daily thing and progressively got worse until I was diagnosed w/ Lyme, in Jan. 2008.

My LLMD is convinced this cat has given me bartonella.

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AmyPW8
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Zeitgeist,

I am a cat lover and cats know it!

I have wondered the same thing. Bartonella is a no brainer, but I would like to know if Lyme and other co-infections can be transmitted via my cats.

I will be watching this thread anxiously! [dizzy]

--------------------
Amy

Diagnosed April 29, 2007.

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adamm
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Well, it can definitely be transmitted by fleas...
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merrygirl
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I was a vet tech for over 10 years when I got sick, I never once tested a cat for Lyme. I also spoke with several of the vets I worked with and they said that cats don't seem to get Lyme, as they tend to groom off all the ticks and have some kind of natural immunity that dogs and people dont have.

I asked the vets (we are in a highly endemic Lyme area near Cape Cod) if there was a Lyme test for cats and they said No (not that they were aware of)

I bet we do see Lyme in some cats. We definitely see Bartonella.


I dont think you could have gotten Lyme directly from your cat. It is possible your cat had a tick on it and it came off and bit you.

I wouldnt get rid of your cat.

This is my opinion.

Melissa

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FuzzySlippers
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I don't know about Lyme and cats, but as merrygirl said, bartonella can be transmitted from cat to human. Also from fleas to human.

Here is a Bartonella Information Thread link. This thread has alot of information on Bartonella, including articles describing the different strains, symptoms and modes of transmission.

http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=065655#000000

Fuzzy

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Rianna
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B. Microti and B. Duncani cross react, meaning you could have one and the other shows and visa versa.

Ticks on cats or dogs can be the size of poppy seeds that you never see attatch to you and remember you may never get an EM - therefore any pet is high risk.

I also got sick after getting a stray kitten that was covered in tiny ticks & flee's. I am positive for Lyme, Babesia and bartonella

I personally believe cats and dogs give the highest risk of TBI's.

Rianna

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groovy2
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Cats can carry around ticks- flees- on fur ect-
so YES -- Jay

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MaryL
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Five in my family got Lyme from cat fleas.
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gemofnj
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So, this could be a very logical explanation of how other members of the family, including spouses can get lyme.

Meaining, they didnt "transmit" it to each other, but got it from the animal members of the family. [Eek!]

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Just Julie
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I believe a couple things about cats and ticks.

First, I have outside only cats, 2 of them. They have NEVER been inside my house, we do not let them on our laps, we pet them with our hands only (and look at our hands after, in case we find a tick on our hands without knowing we'd petted one off the cat).

So, that said, I have also found many ticks on both cats. They both have had Frontline Plus applied to them, every month, year round, since we allowed them in our yard, and adopted them (6 yrs now).

There have been some ticks, so small, that I thought they were a spect of dirt. Nope, they were just very tiny ticks! You could easily, easily miss seeing one of these tiny ticks, if you were not looking. And if your cat had gray or black fur (mine has orange and white, and then a chocolate point Siamese) you could easily never see the tick on the cat, or the tick on the cat that somehow got onto you via petting, or lap sitting, and then, you get bit, not knowing it, never see the tick and then, wa-la, you've got lyme.

I also can speak to the bartonella/gingivitis issue. My orange and white cat is 14 yrs old. 2 yrs ago, he had a dental cleaning because there was noticable tartar on his back teeth, and he seemed to be in pain while eating.

My vet did the cleaning, and then he still seemed to have trouble eating. The next vet exam gave me the diagnosis of "stomatits" which is gum disease. My vet prescribed cortisone shots, with antibiotic drops, to be given as needed.

This turned out to be a 2 yr long issue with his gum disease. In my trying to research, I found that BARTONELLA is found to be a causative agent/bacteria in the gum disease, and a specific antibiotic is needed to treat that--it's called "Clindamycin" which is also a human abx.

So, specific abx, for gum disease, and even then, it does not go away entirely, and the cat usually ends up having to have all teeth removed, to try and decrease the bacterial load. That is what happened to my cat 2 weeks ago!

All teeth removed, he eats better, but he's on prednisone long term now. My new vet (old vet did not prescribe the correct dosage of abx, so I changed vets! I found the medication error after a year or so of having it be given wrong, under-dosed, by a third!) has told me that they've found that antibiotics are NOT that effective in keeping this disease at bay, so now they usually only try cortisone/prednisone for this disease.

My point here, in the bartonella/cats/gum disease issue, is that you have to really keep on top of the research, I don't know if there are any vets who agree totally on what will work, and for how long.

HOpe this helps!
Julie

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Julie

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Geet3721
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Just to clarify is if you cat is a strictly indoor cat and has no possible exposure to ticks or fleas then the only thing you have to worry about getting from the cat is Bartonella right?


Thanks [Smile]

--------------------
When the going gets tough. . . I'll keep fighting!
Ms. Geet3721

New LLMD, New abx, New life coming right up!!!!

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adamm
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Nope--it could still have exposure to Lyme-ridden mosquitos.
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Geneal
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I had two cats.

Now I have 7 dogs.

Do I worry about transmission from fleas?

Yes.

I worry more about mosquitoes though.

No dogs in new house.

However, I have 9/10 neighbors without pets with Lyme, bartonella and/or babesia.

I keep advantix on all my dogs.

Doesn't really help the flea issue too much though.

I suppose all methods of transmission are possible.

I most likely did not get my illness from my cats or dogs.

Never saw a tick on me until last summer and it was a nymph.

If that is what got me, then it is not likely that I would have noticed that before.

I wouldn't get rid of my animals.

I do however try to stay on top of ticks and fleas.

Hugs,

Geneal

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TX Lyme Mom
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A veterinary graduate student undertook this research as his PhD dissertation project at TAMU following the suspicion that another vet might have contracted Lyme disease from a cat flea which had jumped onto his bare arm above the gloved area during autopsy of a dead cat. (Private communication -- not contained in the article.)

Here is the link to the publication, which didn't appear in print until 10 years later -- after effective flea prevention products had already become available on the market!

http://www.springerlink.com/content/t4q4615xu970n6wk/

I've always wondered if the 10-year delay in publication of this article was motivated by the fact that veterinary journals were reluctant to publish the article for fear that pet owners would no longer want to keep cats as pets for fear of acquiring Lyme disease from cat fleas.

Notice that when the article finally did appear in print that it appeared in an obscure journal, not in a major veterinary journal.

Furthermore, the experiment did not prove that fleas can transmit Borrelia, only that cats can be infected with Borrelia if innoculated directly by artifical means.

Now, if the cat also had ticks, then that would be a different matter altogether since ticks can remain attached to the skin long enough to be able to transmit Borrelia successfully, whereas fleas take a quick blood meal and then detach from the skin immediately, which isn't long enough to transmit Borrelia.

Personally, I would be much more worried about acquiring Bartonella (cat scratch disease) than Lyme disease from cat fleas. Fleas have not been proven to be an efficient vector for Borrelia.

The only people who are susceptible to Bartonella are those who have poor immunity, such as the very young, the elderly, AIDS patients, cancer patients during chemotherapy -- or of course, folks whose immune systems are already compromised by Lyme disease.

Posts: 4563 | From TX | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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