For early cases, prompt treatment is usually curative. However, the severity and treatment of Lyme disease may be complicated due to late diagnosis, failure of antibiotic treatment, and simultaneous infection with other tick-borne diseases (coinfections), including ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and immune suppression in the patient.
A meta-analysis published in 2005 found some patients with Lyme disease have fatigue, joint or muscle pain, and neurocognitive symptoms persisting for years, despite antibiotic treatment. Patients with late stage Lyme disease have been shown to experience a level of physical disability equivalent to that seen in congestive heart failure.
In dogs, a serious long-term prognosis may result in glomerular disease, which is a category of kidney damage that may cause chronic kidney disease. Dogs may also experience chronic joint disease if the disease is left untreated. However, the majority of cases of Lyme disease in dogs result in a complete recovery with, and sometimes without, treatment with antibiotics. In rare cases, Lyme disease can be fatal to both humans and dogs.
Many patients report a lack of understanding among employers, family, and friends as being the most frustrating aspect of Lyme disease. The fatigue that accompanies it may be perceived as malingering, especially after the disease enters its second and third week of treatment.
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