Part 3 (Interview continued...):
Here is the list of questions from consumers Dr. Andrew Litchy, answers in this video.
- Is IV antibiotic therapy essential for treating Lyme? Does everyone have to go through it?
- If I have developed arthritis, should I be testing for Lyme?
- Does Lyme always develop in a bullseye rash?
- I have pets, can they get Lyme Disease?
- Is there any vaccine for Lyme Disease?
- One of the things that happen with Lyme disease is that people develop co-infections. What should people be looking for?
- Is it standard practice to test for co-infections at the same time when someone is being tested for Lyme?
- If you have tested positive for Lyme, it is essential to check for co-infections.
- Does it matter how long you’ve been exposed to Lyme to test for co-infections, or would you recommend that even if it is an acute exposure?
- So when you say, the first round of antibiotics is not effective, what you mean by that is that the symptoms are continuing to persist in that person?
- How often do you see relapse with Lyme disease?
- Is there a window in which Lyme comes back (after treatment) or can it happen anytime?
- Can people with Lyme disease and co-infections Infect others?
- When people donate blood, is the blood tested for infections and Lyme disease?
Interviewer: One of the consumer questions that has come in “Is IV antibiotic therapy essential for treating Lyme? Does everyone have to go through it?”
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: The short answer is No! Not everyone has to do that. IV antibiotic therapy may be a first-line therapy. IV Rocephin, or something like it, with the first diagnosis. That will happen in an infectious disease setting. Some practitioners will use IV antibiotics as a primary or later in treatment as well. But, it is not necessary for everybody to do IV antibiotics; there is a place for it, but not everyone has to do that to get better.
Interviewer: Another question that has come in: “If I have developed arthritis, should I be testing for Lyme?”
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: It depends, if you develop arthritis and if your other symptoms align with that and there is possible exposure (to Lyme) than it is reasonable to test for Lyme. And actually many arthritis have an infectious component even if they’re not Lyme related, which is another important thing to know as well.
Interviewer: “Does Lyme bite always develop a bullseye rash?”
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: It does Not! And actually a large percentage of people that develop Lyme do not even know that they had a tick bite, have no rash, and they find out only through symptoms later on. I’ve worked with many people who know the exact weekend that they got sick, that it started exactly then, but no tick bite, no rash, it was probably a nymph or something very small, or they just couldn’t find the tick, but it happened.
Interviewer: This next question is related to pets; “I have pets, can they get Lyme Disease?”
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: Yes, pets can get Lyme disease and do frequently. Dogs will get it often and other pets as well. Many vets know to look for this with sudden onset arthritis symptoms in animals, and it can be tested for.
Interviewer: Is there any vaccine for Lyme Disease?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: There was a vaccine for Lyme disease, but it went off the market years ago for a variety of reasons. I believe they are working on a new one, but right now there is no vaccine currently being utilized for Lyme.
Interviewer: So one of the things that happen with Lyme disease is that people develop co-infections- What should people be looking for?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: Co-Infections can happen at the same time as the Lyme infection. They can be carried by the tick, and one can get multiple infections simultaneously. Often, these co-infections are treated with Doxycycline (a common antibiotic) or other therapies so they will be treated at the same time as the Lyme disease, and sometimes not. When they become chronic, or not treated appropriately, then they have a related, but a different set of symptoms to the Lyme and can actually be more debilitating than the Lyme disease itself. Common co-infections like Microplasmas, Chlamydia, Pneumonia, Babesia, Bartonella, which can be from cats, as well as from ticks, and rickettsia. Common infections which manifest differently in “co-infection” and “chronic” form than they might acutely and can be associated with chronic Lyme. Treatments are often different; when there is an issue, there may be different therapies or different antibiotics used. Identifying the co-infections is important. A good test for Lyme will include co-infection testing at the same time to understand. Once one has a simple Lyme test that they are positive for, they might consider being tested for co-infections to understand what is present.
Interviewer: Is that standard practice to test for co-infections at the same time when someone is being tested for Lyme?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: Not in the primary care setting.
Interviewer: That’s excellent advice. So if you have tested positive for Lyme, it is essential to check for co-infections.
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: Yes!
Interviewer: Does it matter how long you’ve been exposed to Lyme to test for co-infections, or would you recommend that even if it is an acute exposure?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response:I would recommend it either if it is an acute exposure and it’s easy to get the co-infection testing or if the person has failed the first month or so of antibiotics…in that case, you should be looking deeper for more things, and that is certainly a good time to do that. It’s questionable if it is necessary to do it in the first screening until the first round of antibiotics is ineffective.
Interviewer: So when you say, the first round of antibiotics is not effective, what you mean by that is that the symptoms are continuing to persist in that person?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: That’s right. Either, they felt better, but then symptoms came back after they finished the first round; or, they felt a little better and then symptoms got worse after they discontinued the antibiotics, or, they tested positive, and the antibiotics were not effective at all. Any of those three cases. And Lyme disease can recur if treatment is not fully effective. So people can get better and then the same symptoms can later come back.
Interviewer: How often do you see relapse with Lyme disease?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: I think that it definitely happens. Well-treated Lyme disease will not relapse like that, but that is something I look for in the middle of treatment. If we think we are done, and then it comes back, that is certainly a possibility.
Interviewer: Is there a window in which Lyme comes back (after treatment) or can it happen anytime?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: Usually, it will come back within a couple of months.
Interviewer: Can people with Lyme disease and co-infections Infect Others?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: Yes. Any of these can be infective. Lyme disease itself can be infected from mother to child, that can happen; Vertical Transmission. There is some concern that it can be sexually transmitted as well. Though it is not easily sexually transmitted there is some thought that can happen as well. It can be in the blood, and like any infection can be transmitted by blood and other bodily fluids. We don’t worry about it as an intensely infective-illness, but it can run in families where many people, generations, can have it.
Interviewer: When people donate blood, is the blood tested for infections and Lyme disease?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: Yes absolutely. Donated blood is tested for all kinds of infections.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time today Dr. Litchy; any parting words for our consumers?
Dr. Andrew Litchy’s response: Lyme disease is Treatable! Even Chronic Lyme disease can be treated! And so, one should not give up hope if you are dealing with Chronic Lyme. There can be things that can help you improve and if you think you have Chronic Lyme, get it treated right away!
END OF PART 3
Why is the medical community so confused by Lyme Disease? Dr. Andrew Litchy, ND explains
Special thanks to Dr. Andrew LitchyND for being an educator on TrailheadHealth.com and for helping answer consumer questions.
Dr. Andrew Litchy, ND specializes in Chronic Lyme Disease, Integrative Cancer Care, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Botanical Medicine. In addition to his clinical practice at the Neighborhood Naturopathic in Edina, Minnesota, he also teaches at the University of Minnesota. He loves educating consumers and is offering free initial consultation to anyone who has questions on Lyme and wondering if Naturopathic Treatment can help them. He can be reached at (612) 259-8529 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org When you see him please don't forget to thank him for helping educate and answering consumer questions through Trailhead Health videos.