Ticks: Fear and Loathing and Lyme
When a Little Knowledge can be Dangerous
A common example as Summer comes upon us in the Northern Hemisphere is the emergence of ticks and the consequent fear of Lyme and other tick borne diseases.
We’ve had some discussions in Dogs Naturally Academy on this, where we’ve presented some remedies known to help counter the effects of bites and stings and even snake bites, all Summer hazards, depending on where you live. The homeopathic remedy ledum has been discussed among academy members, as it’s a very old and useful remedy in puncture wounds. Tick mouth parts, like those of fleas and mosquitoes and snakes, puncture the integument, causing injury that ledum often addresses quite handily.
The old homeopathic masters often held that a well-timed dose of ledum could prevent tetanus, quite a feat. Here’s Dr. James Kent, one of the greats from the United States, on ledum:
The horse sometimes steps on a nail. If that nail goes through and strikes the margin of the coffin bone, tetanus will follow. It is known to be almost sure death. Put Ledum on the tongue of that horse and there will not be any trouble for it prevents such conditions.” Kent, JT, Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica (1904)
When Fear Rules, Common Sense Runs Away
Unfortunately, discussions of ticks seems to quickly run to Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. Oh, my!
So many germs at the door! None of them easy, but also none of them a given with a tick found on your dog!
The equation that seems to play out in the minds of dog owners who forget the rightful place of disease and parasites goes something like this:
Tick on my dog = disease in my dog (= suffering and maybe death!) = Gak!
And the discussion groups go mad with how to dose ledum, what about dosing the dog who’s under constitutional homeopathic treatment, how long does it take to know Lyme is present, etc, etc.
Strengthen Resistance, Banish Fear
A central theme here at Vital Animal is the notion that, inherent in your animal (and in you, in fact), is a wholly wonderful thing called the innate intelligence. It’s that invisible, unmeasurable part of all of us that keeps us well, given half a chance.
The innate intelligence, aka vital force, is what repairs wounds, mends broken bones, fights off infectious disease, and digests food, turning it into useful treasures for the body and eliminating waste byproducts. Part of this is recognized as the immune system by modern science, but it’s much more besides.
Resistance to the germ at the door is where your efforts are best spent. To the extent that you focus on this natural resistance, you can relax and know that tick bite ≠ tick borne disease.
Key Players in Natural Resistance
There are a few key ingredients to stay diligent with if natural resistance is your goal. The top ones I see over and over again are, in order of importance,
- Avoiding vaccinations beyond initial ones at 16 weeks (if you opt for those). Volumes of evidence for this, but start here and learn the top two reasons: safety and efficacy, both lacking in vaccine repetition.
- Feeding species appropriate food. Fuel that fits the eater fuels natural resistance, every day, every meal. Here’s a place to start.
- Avoiding poisons like the plague. That goes for flea and tick poisons. That goes for pesticides against heartworms. Pure water, clean air, clean cleaning products. Keep it clean!
Add to this the major benefits of homeopathic prescribing (see the AVH link on this page) at the earliest point symptoms arise, plenty of outdoor exercise, and a happy emotional life, and my, my, you’ve not only changed the equation of fear to one of confidence, but you’ve given your animal the keys to thrive as a truly vital animal.
Now, where did that fear go? I don’t know, I’m too busy keeping up with my boundlessly energetic animal who everyone thinks must be a pup (even though he’s pushing 10!). But don’t take my word for it. When I asked if this “natural stuff” actually works a while back, boy did you tell me!
I am shocked and disgusted at the photo of the dog with one of the worst tick infestations in his /her ear. This is such a clear cut case of animal abuse and neglect, worse is the lack of empathy on this page especially from this so called DVM.
Lyme can be a deceptive invader for the host canine. My 2 yr old, fresh- raw fed since 4 months, minimally Vax ed, no heartworm prevention, no pesticides administered,not neutered Am Staff…. tested positive for Lyme two months ago. I doubled his dose of canine transfer factor, monitored him closely for any Lyme symptoms. He exhibited no outward symptoms whatsoever. Very energetic, young, healthy looking dog. I retested for Lyme two months later. Still positive, this time the positive result was a thick dark line on the test, the first time barely visible, and still no symptoms. I have not sent blood work out for a Lyme titer yet, but I decided to run a complete blood count on him. His platelet count is very low, along with a low white cell count. I guess it is possible he could be dealing with more than one tick borne disease? Be careful, canine owners with self diagnosis of this disease. Lyme spirochete will not always present in a textbook fashion, of lameness or lethargy, sore joints etc. I am with my dog for many hours every day, and he has not shown the slightest bit of any behavior change, meanwhile, his blood work is telling me a very different story about his health.
Lyme in people and dogs have been treated homeopathicaly (veterinarians can even help via phone consults), herbally Bhuneer is a great author, info applies to dogs too). Don’t give up, if the dog can hold on all this while, the love and pursuit of good options you are seeking, well I see lots of good aheads. Look up alternative vets and homeopathic vet society. It’s real healing, just not mainstream, yet.
I am looking for a natural vet in Denver, Colorado to help me in healing my dog adopted from Puerto Rico 8 months ago. He has just been diagnosed with chronic erhlchiosis from ticks and I have been told his prognosis is very poor. The only options offered by my vet are doxycycline and possibly steriods. I have read about homeopathy for tick borne diseases but am needing some professional guidance. I will be grateful for any recommendations/guidance. Thank you.
My dog had erhlichiosis confirmed on blood test. We gave her doxycycline and she regained use of paralyzed back leg Just give probiotics and grain free diet to combat the GI effects of meds.
Our neighbors know we’re little dog folks so we often contacted when someone finds a little one. This week, we got a tiny Terrier who was loaded with fleas and ticks. She was thin, dirty, and in generally poor shape. She also was showing some symptoms of Lyme disease – pain when touched, painful joints, lethargy, and hardly moving. We bathed her in natural shampoo that had 7 drops of Palo Santo essential oil and 1 tsp of neem oil added to it. Left the suds on for 20 minutes and it killed every flea and tick on her. Started her on the raw diet we feed our dogs and added colloidal silver. In 2 days, she had no symptoms of Lyme – no pain, joint problems, or anything else. No toxic products or antibiotics that would only do harm. Don’t ya just love the natural route instead?
Great work, Nora! Of course, we don’t know if Lyme was the issue or not, but it doesn’t really matter, right? She’s well on the road to the good life, and in record time! Wow, 2 days is remarkable.
Then, imagine what she’d have gone through if she’d have landed on Dr. WhiteCoat’s step instead of yours. Vaccinations for everything, flea and tick pesticides, heartworm pesticides, and his absolute favorite, antibiotics. Her immune system would have been thrown into high confusion, she’d have lost a significant lot of beneficial gut flora, and would she have gotten better in two days?? Highly unlikely.
Keep up the good work!
To the doctor, my dog is on a prescription food Hills z/d canine ultra. This food has hydrolyzed protein. I’m not exactly sure what her problem is but she has been symptom free for a year. Any suggestions about what this could be and is there a way to treat naturally?
My guess is her symptoms were wildly itchy skin or inflamed, discharging ears or both, the commonest symptoms of vaccinosis/allergies in dogs.
Yes, it’s curable with homeopathy, but being chronic disease, it takes professional case management, of which you will be a valuable part of the process. See my Resources page for the AVH list and find someone doing this work full time to help you. When your dog is well again, there’ll be no need for an exotic, tweaked protein diet like this to stay itch free.
I feed a fresh raw diet, do not vaccinate anymore (and recieved homeopathic help to rid systematic dysfunction). I feed a daily supplement called Bug Off by Springtimeinc.com They come in chews (for small/medium dogs) and powder (larger dogs – more cost effective).
I have yet to find a flea or tick. It also repels mosquitoes (heartworm), and we have dogs coming in and out of our home regularly as I am a pet sitter.
I tried fresh garlic, but worried about the dosage and the quality of it, and heard human made garlic pills were not effective. SpringTimeINC has been in business for 20 years+ and I couldn’t find anything bad written about them anywhere online, and know a great deal of people who use it. Thought I would let you know and perhaps you can look into them. 🙂 (They have lots of other natural supplements too)
Can you list the first 3-4 ingredients for us? Sounds like it’s working for you.
Sure thing, both the powder and chews contain the same ingredients. As it’s water soluble it doesnt build up in dangerous levels, which is why it needs to be given daily, but it’s safe enough that in high risk areas you can double or triple dosage.
Guaranteed Springtime Analysis
•Garlic granules: 1000mg/tablet
•Desiccated beef liver: 350mg/tablet
•Nutritional yeast culture: 350mg/tablet
Ingredients: air-dried garlic granules, desiccated beef liver, nutritional yeast culture, dextrose, microcrystalline cellulose, and stearic acid.
Of course, the product has many other health properties as well. 🙂
Ah, very familiar: yeast and garlic has been around for decades, and often quite effective. I’m sure the liver makes it taste better and adds some nice nutrients.
If you want to put to rest any concerns about garlic, pop on over to Dogs Naturally Magazine and search it out. It would be on the order of 7 big cloves in a large dog before you’d see any ill effects. Quite remarkable article.
Bugoff from Springtimeinc.com is what I have used with Sophie as well, going on 4 years come January. I have never used anything else toxin wise, I have used Omnishield by Koda before we hike in a more likely area to run into ticks or fleas.
On occasion I have seen a subdued flea, easy to pick up and remove. She gets prepared raw food in the am, Stella and Chewy’s, occasional raw organic egg and shell, and Instinct dry at night.
Her titers have been good, wish the rabies challenge would announce legally and change rules on Rabies Vaccination. She’s due in December.
Question for you Doc. I must be misunderstanding how these ‘preventatives’ are suppose to work. How do they stop the tick or flea from actually biting? And isn’t the bite what transmits the disease? I get that the chemicals are in the blood stream and contain neurotoxins thereby killing the flea/tick. But hasn’t the damage already been done with the bite?
Personally I still use and love Wondercide for stopping the bites in the first place. One bottle for pets, humans and the house. Gotta love it.
Good question, Tricia. I think some of the chemicals are so toxic they’ll actually prevent bites, perhaps due to the pesticide hanging about in the sebum of the skin.
Glad the Wondercide is working for you. The product that used to be called Evolv got an name update to Flea and Tick, for those of you wondering.
As I hike with my dog in the Northeast he has tested positive for Lyme and even chronic Lyme. Not symptomatic in any form. He is raw fed and hasn’t had a vaccine since the shelter gave him them as a puppy but ticks are endemic in the woods up here. I do need to give him a C6 test or Cornell Multiplex test to see what his level is now. I will first treat him with Ledum 1M 1 pellet 3 times a day for 3 days as that is reportedly a cure as used by a vet in CT. Do need to get the Lyme Nosode, as that is good for prevention.
I’d not treat an asymptomatic dog who shows he’s responded to Lyme organisms. Look at your dog, not the numbers. He’s telling you the proper story.
Annie M and Min Pin Mama, you say to never remove ticks with your fingers and maybe that is so for some people, but you are both off-base in making such a broad generalization. We have pulled thousands of ticks off our dogs over the years with our fingers….to be more specific, our fingernails. If you grow your thumb and index fingernails to a certain length, it is quite easy to lodge those nails underneath the body of the tick and easily pull them off one’s dogs without “plunging infectious diseases” into your dog.
Our dogs are mega healthy and yet experience those nasty bloodsuckers on their bodies from early March until late summer every single day. We keep closed bottles of soapy water on a table outside, on a bench in our mudroom, on a table in the living room and in our bedrooms–wherever we find them crawling on us, stuck on us or our dogs. Dropping the tick’s body into the soapy water kills it.
I live in Upstate N.Y. Our area is endemic with ticks. I have had Lyme disease since 1997. It has ruined my life.
I feed my dogs raw & treat mostly with homeopathic meds but i differ with you on this matter. Ticks don’t discriminate. The diseases they carry WEAR down even the BEST immune systems. I recently lost my best buddy to neurological lyme ( which is rare in dogs)
I use tick collars on my dogs now. Its the lesser of two evils. I put them on in April & take them off in Nov. Not fond of the pesticide but at least my dogs are alive!
I have tried organic sprays & feeding garlic, Brewers yeast etc.
It doesn’t work. The tick born disease contracted from these ticks ARE life treating. Good immune systems or not!!! A lot of dogs die here if they are not treated promptly. Tick prevention is a must anywhere —-I regret to have say. Counting on a good immune system is like playing Russian roulette.
Hey Natalie, look into the BX Protocol for your Lyme, if you have not already done so. bx4lyme (dot com.)
Dr. Falconer, glad you made it safely back to this continen (you’re itinerary made me wince), Just in time for our first tropical storm and lots more rain headed your way!
Just want to say that my dogs regularly get ticks, our season seams to be more in the fall when it’s drier. My 3 dogs and I have daily walks in the woods or country fields and usually I find several ticks on them. Lately, I’ve noticed that I often find the ticks in their furr, but not latched on (I do check after each walk, but sometimes I’ve found them a day or two later). Wondering if this is because my dogs are quite healthy these days thanks to your guidance in rearing them? I have pulled many a tick off of my pack, but Instead of panicking, I just make sure that their immune system is primed with transfer factor and feed the best diet I can give them and trust that they will ward off any infection. I do the same for myself!
A prime example of following your approach just happened this past weekend…my big dog Angus, was bitten by another even bigger dog in a show off of dominance. The bite was in the upper thigh of his right leg. He came home limping and wouldn’t eat and as the evening wore on he got worse, moaning in pain. I keep all of our past correspondence regarding the dogs, so I just looked up one with a similar occurrence in another of my dogs. I followed your advice in that case, first I gave a split dose of Arnica, 1ml of diluted Arnica every hour 3 times. This helped him sleep, but in the morning the leg was swollen & he had fever and would still not eat, so I changed to Ledum, (same dosage) even though it wasn’t an exact fit, it is used particularly for puncture wounds, this helped almost immediately. I gave one more dose later in the day and he was ready for his evening walk as usual and has progressed beautifully, no infection, swelling all gone. Amazing! This could have gotten ugly! I, for one am very grateful to have found you 7 years ago, when I got my first dog as a small pup and decided to raise him holistically. You’ve taught me to push the fearful thoughts out of my head and focus on what is actually going on with my animals in the moment and over time & treat or let be according to that. I’m a firm believer in your methods and I love all of the free advice you so graciously share in this blog!!!
Nice work, Margaret. Amazing what homeopathic remedies can do in acute injury, isn’t it? You did just what Dorothy Shepherd would have done for wounds like this. You may want to get her books some day. A brilliant nurse post WWI who stumbled on to homeopathy and found her patients getting better faster with remedies, and her wards having less smell when she treated homeopathically. She’s a huge fan of calendula topically for any and all wounds.
No one could be more health conscience than me, for myself and my animals. I feed raw, I don’t vaccinate (other than required by law), feed only fresh spring water, and I “tried” to do the natural way of fending off ticks. And both of my babies got Ehrlichiosis. Sometimes you have to pick your poison. I now use tick preventative. You have to do what is ultimately best for your furbabies, even if it goes against what you’d rather do.
Growing up in rural New York State many moons ago, my animals and I ran and played in tall grass fields, woods, marshes and rock outcroppings. We all were vaccine free. Cats hunted squirrel, rodents, and birds. Dogs kept the woodchuck population trim. And us humans tended to an organic garden. Pure well water. Pure air. Yeah, we were the weird ones in the valley. Only on rare occasions did I find a tick settling in on the skin. In which case I picked it off, straight up. At that point, a drop of iodine went on the puncture hole. No further issues.
Recently, I began taking Nascent Iodine which was has made a huge difference in my health. During my research, I had read that animals and humans that have proper levels of iodine will not have ticks adhere to their skin. I made a mental note to research further (remembering that drop on the puncture wound), though want to ask in this discussion if anyone has heard that or uses iodine to eliminate ticks from settling and locking on. ????
And Dr. Falconer, I thank you for being on my spiritual journey as you teach and affirm much of what I already do to give my beloved animals a good life. A vital life.
Thanks for stopping by, Alexandra. Haven’t heard the iodine repellant idea, but it makes sense. Or maybe some deeper reason? Let’s see if anyone knows more. I’d imagine it somewhat like garlic in its systemic effects.
I applaud your “weirdness,” but suspect you were the sane ones in reality. Glad you’re on the path with us.
Lyme disease is a man-made disease, like Morgellons and Scleroderma. The mad scientists have been busy for the last century designing these bio weapons! There are documents proving that these ailments resulted from genetically splicing bacterium and viruses; The mycoplasm is the result of a genetic splice of Brucilosis bacteria and a Visna virus. The really disgusting thing is that they released these in and over unsuspecting populations to test their efficacy! A Red Dye Stain test is needed to detect the mycoplasm infection…whitecoats can’t find it with routine tests. Chronic illness should be grounds for RDST in my humble opinion.
So I myself had Lyme, but I beat it. Then I had Morgellons, but I beat it. Then I had Systemic Scleroderma…I almost didn’t beat that, and came very close to death in Dec 2010, but obviously since I’m talking to you I beat that too! Apparently I’m indestructible, ha ha!
What I have observed is that man cannot create anything like that from natural building blocks, without the cure also being found in nature. Most of these diseases particularly target people or animals with poor nutrition. Feed the body what our Creator put here for us, and voila! Good as new in no time. There’s a little more to it than that, energy and attitude are involved, and ancient medicine of course, but the result of all this is that I fear nothing…no, not even ticks.
I haven’t tried a tick puller yet, my digits seem to work fine for buggers that do get a bite of me, but it looks like a good way not to touch them if that bothers you. My cats get a check over after they go out, but I’ve only seen a few ticks walking on fur, not dug in.
If you want to read about how the mycoplasm came to be, you can do a web search for [Mycoplasm, The Linking Pathogen] and you’ll find lots of information on it. Mercola and Rense did articles, too. It’s a bit depressing and angering to find the madmen have no respect for the innocent people who have suffered from their manipulations of the genome, but I would rather know the truth, personally.
Is there an “after” shot of that dog’s ear, doc? I’m going to be seeing that when I try to fall asleep tonight. Yeesh!
Thanks for your thoughts, Nora. I grabbed the pic from Pixabay, and as near as I could tell, it’s a one off. Sounds like it was a bit over the top for a few readers. Oops.
I have seen a dog in Hawaii with so many fat ticks in his ears that they looked like kernals of corn on a cob. It’s puzzling that an owner would let the infestation progress that far.
Thanks for posting this Dr. Falconer. I really appreciate the effort you take to help educate all of us.
This image doesn’t bother me, outside of feeling empathy for the animal (and others like him/her out there). Rather I see it as more good education. For readers who question what kind of owner would allow their pet to get this invested… many stray dogs have this to deal with (and I have seen deer, too, with tick-infested ears), and maybe that’s where the picture came from.
Thanks for your daily blogs Dr. Falconer, I apprecaite each and everyone of them…
I practice natural rearing (15 years now) with my dogs and in doing so I have learned so much about how to look after myself and family in a more natural way. No more vaccines, no processed foods, lots of fresh air and cuddle time. Since starting on this NR road I have very healthy dogs and it’s very interesting to watch how mosquitoes will land on my dogs (including my litters) and quicky fly off of them. With ticks, and I do live in an area where ticks are really bad, I may get one tick on one dog out of 5 dogs. Some years my dogs get none. But, I also avoid tall grass and woodsy areas during tick season. As far as the picture above, it doesn’t instill more fear in me of ticks, but it does make me feel the owner is negligent. How can so many ticks, be in that dog’s ear, and obviously, the ticks have been there for some time seeing how big they are.
Also, like you mentioned, we use our fingers to pull ticks out, have for over 50 years, no need to go and buy special tools, just another money maker.
Lastly, I know that “if” one of my dogs ended up with Lyme disease, I know the symptoms it presents, would be treated homeopathically.
Carole, brilliant. That’s what I’m talking about. Carry on. You inspire me.
Is there a homeopathic remedy for these tick-borne diseases?
There are many, Kathy, but as it’s chronic disease, it’s best to get a professional involved. Chronic disease typically takes more than one remedy, but only one at a time, carefully chosen and responses evaluated. A fair amount of case management to get these guys cured, so not DIY.
I love your blog, but that photo of the dog with hundreds of ticks causes more fear, not less (like the veterinarian photos of the heart infested with heartworms – an exaggerated / worst case scenario and not the norm).
I truly appreciate your sharing this valuable info each week. In this blog, however, I do need to make one suggestion. In order to sound credible re: tick borne diseases, you might want to use the correct name for the disease on which you are focusing here—ie. Lyme. The disease is named after Lyme, Connecticut. I have been battling Lyme, Babesia, & others for the past 8 years, and have learned more than I ever really wanted to about these diseases. One thing I do know is that your credibility in talking about these diseases starts with using the correct name for them. So Lyme . . . not Lymes.
Also a long time Lyme sufferer, my dog and I both contracted Lyme disease when we lived in Cape Cod, MA. Ticks are rampant there, and you should never use your fingers to remove a tick. You need to grasp it as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull straight out. If you squeeze the tick you risk plunging infectious diseases into the vitim like squirting a turkey baster. Obviously, your knowledge on ticks and tick borne diseases is very limited.
I could not agree more . . . using fingers to remove a tick is dangerous. Fortunately, there is an inexpensive (under $5) tool called a Tick Twister that is hands-down the easiest way I have found to remove the ticks. Our local vet office has used them for years, and swears by them. In fact, all the vets around here seem to use them. If your vet does not offer them, they can be ordered on Amazon or Only Natural Pets. They are light weight & easy to carry so you are prepared on your walk with your pet.
Min Pin Mama–I saw that Tick Twister too, but lately have had really tiny ticks–smaller than I’ve ever seen–not much bigger than head of standard straight pin. Wonder if the Tick Twister would work for those???
M. Harper . . . The Tick Twister can be ordered in a packet of two—one for larger ticks and the other for the very tiny ones. Be sure to order the packet with both sizes.
Min pin mom, thanks for saying that… yes, it is Lyme disease, there is no plural, lol!
Thanks, Mom. Fixed.
Min Pin Mama. Indeed the given name for the disease is Lyme but I’d now like to correct you in a word you used which is incorrect, ineffective, and wrong-thinking.
You say, “I have been battling Lyme, Babesia, & others for the past 8 years…” You don’t “battle” any disease. No wonder you still have them. You have to look at things differently if you want to heal or cure anything. Disease is a message. You fight the message and you will aways lose. We don’t want to suppress the symptoms, i.e. “battle” them. The symptoms are your body’s way to bring itself back into homeostasis, however odd that may seem.
“Battling” the symptoms is what you are trying to do but the symptoms are not to be battled. They are to be noted and then worked with. In Homeopathy, you carefully note your symptoms so you may find a remedy that matches those symptoms. This is part and parcel of Homeopathy. Like cures like. Simple yet powerful and effective.
Eliie, beautifully put. Fighting anything encourages it because you give it your energy. You have to surrender to it. Then you find the way out. All the masters have always told us this is the only way out.
Ellie, I do understand homeopathy, but the battles of which I speak have far more to do with issues that are beyond the illness itself. You may want to read “Cure Unknown” as well as other sources regarding the issues surrounding tick-borne disease Until you have walked in my shoes, please do not be so presumptive as to lecture me on why I “still have tick-borne disease.”