Alphabet Challenge :: L :: Lyme disease

English: National Lyme disease risk map with 4...

English: National Lyme disease risk map with 4 categories of risk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pitiful Posting and the Alphabet Challenge


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of a blacklegged tick carrying the bacteria Borrelia burgdoferi. The ticks pick up the disease when they bite a mouse or deer infected with B. burgdoferi. There are 3 stages of the disease:

  1. Early localized
  2. Early disseminated
  3. Late disseminated
Generally, an infected tick must be attached to a host body for 24-36 hours in order to transmit the disease. This is made easier by the fact that blacklegged ticks are extremely small. Lyme disease presents flu-like symptoms that may include:
  • Body-wide itching
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • General ill-feeling
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness or fainting
  • Muscle pain
  • Stiff neck
There may also be a bullseye rash at the site of the bite. Untreated, the disease can spread to the joints, heart and brain. Blood tests can be used to determine the presence of Lyme which can be treated with antibiotics. In later stages of the disease, I have seen pets come in to the vet hospital in such intense joint pain that they couldn’t bear to be touched.

Visit¬†Lyme disease – PubMed Health. if you’d like more information on the disease.


SciAm Podcast :: Honey Helps Heal Wounds

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Honey Helps Heal Wounds: Scientific American Podcast.

Another podcast from Scientific American for today! We use honey on wounds at the hospital so this is kind of cool. This particular study is based on the effects of honey produced by bees foraging on manuka flowers on a particular type of Streptococcus, S. pyogenes. It seems to be effective both in preventing Strep infection and dissociating biofilm created by the bacteria.



Image by AJC1 via Flickr

The bacterial disease, Leptospirosis, affects both humans and animals. Infection is spread through the urine of infected animals. The bacteria can survive in the environment (water and soil) for weeks to months and later enter the body via skin (especially when cut), mucous membranes or drinking infected water.

Signs of Lepto in animals include:

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • refusal to eat
  • severe weakness and depression
  • stiffness
  • severe muscle pain
  • inability to have puppies

Obviously, the symptoms vary and could easily be mistaken for some other ailment. Age plays a role as younger animals are more susceptible to serious disease. Pets may even be asymptomatic. The disease normally develops within 5 to 14 days but development can extend beyond this time frame or be shorter. Antibiotics are used to treat Lepto. If caught early enough, organ damage may be less severe. Left untreated, Lepto can cause (Source #1):

  • kidney damage
  • meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord),
  • liver failure
  • respiratory distress
  • death

If you’re worried about Leptospirosis transmission to you or your pets, you can visit the CDC’s tips on prevention.


  1. CDC – Leptospirosis
  2. CDC – Lepto Pet Owner Info
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