After a couple of months of doxycycline (no one balked or questioned it when I went past the initial prescription of one month, and the question about whether to increase the dose hung only on whether my dog could stomach it — how different from how humans are treated), my dog has stabilized. It is a relief to see her feeling and acting like herself again, and we were able to stop the antibiotics entirely a few weeks ago. When we did, her urine test (a measure of kidney disease) even improved slightly. She seems to be stable.
The really frustrating thing about this, though, is what the vet in New York said when I brought her out to visit (we moved her from Pittsburgh to New York because my family and I are going on sabbatical out of the country for the next year). His comment? “We see this all the time in this area.”
The funny thing is that when I searched online for Lyme and kidney disease in dogs, I found very little information, so I’m posting here now: If your dog has a history of sickness with Lyme, make sure that you get regular kidney function testing, and if kidney disease develops, consider that Lyme may be a possible cause. If we’d known this in November, it’s possible she would never have gotten so sick. I only hope this hasn’t shortened her lifespan.