For those of you who don’t know me, Demi is my wonderful wonderful dog. She spends some of her time with my parents in NY, and the first time she had lyme disease, we think she got it there (in Spring 2006). We only found out she had it because she had a positive ELISA when we checked her for heart burn in August 2006. We treated her with about 1 month of oral antibiotics. She never had any symptoms.
About two months later, late on Wednesday night of 10/4/06, Demi suddenly lost the use of all four of her limbs around 11pm. I was asleep at the time (I have two young children who don’t sleep well, one who was still nursing, and was catching up), but I happened to wake up an hour or so later and my husband told me what had happened, I immediately headed out to the emergency vet.
They had no idea what might have caused it, and lyme was never mentioned, but several other probably deadly hypotheses were discussed. In any case, they put her on IV antibiotics, and sent me home around 3am. The next day, she was already able to move a little. I asked them if lyme was a possibility, and they thought it was unlikely. However, her improvement was so rapid that they began to agree it was a possibility that her summer lyme disease had not been successfully cured. I was able to bring her home not long after that, though she required support under her belly to help her walk. We put her on oral antibiotics again, in consultation with her regular vet, for 6 weeks. By 10/8/06 she was outwardly completely better, and no symptoms have recurred since then.
At the time, I believed that her infection had occurred the previous Spring when she was visiting my parents, that treatment had been unsuccessful, and that her October symptoms were likely from the original infection. I also thought, at the time, that lyme was not something one would get in inner-city Pittsburgh. With my current (12/2007) knowledge, I now believe that she was probably cured in August and was re-infected by a tick in Frick Park sometime in late September or October. For those of you who understand the lyme wars (see other posts on the topic by clicking on the tag “lyme-ware”), you’ll see that I essentially switched camps. Actually, my opinions on this are more subtle than that, I believe that both are possibilities, I just think in this case one explanation is more likely. If it’s true that she was reinfected, it seems plausible that I may have been infected at the same time. The timing certainly makes sense.