Facts about Lyme Disease every Dog Parent Should Know

Most pet parents have heard of Lyme disease. And many already know that it is carried by a tick and that humans and animals can be infected.

But how much do you really know about Lyme disease?

Ticks do not hibernate and therefore pose a threat to humans and pets 365 days a year. These pests thrive in areas of the Northeast US, including in Bridgeport, Fairfield, New Haven and Stamford, CT.

Lyme disease was first observed in the United States in the 1960s in Lyme, CT. In the 1980s, scientists revealed the causative agent to be a bacteria transmitted in North America by deer ticks (Ixodes scapularum), according to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

Here are some facts about Lyme disease in dogs shared at Pet Health Network.com <http://network.com/>in an article titled 5 Facts You May Not Know About Lyme Disease in Dogs found at http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/5-facts-you-may-not-know-about-lyme-disease-dogs.

1. Lyme disease is on the rise

According to the CDC, there are over 30,000 cases of Lyme disease <http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/tags/lyme-disease> in people every year and the incidence of confirmed Lyme cases has been increasing since 1993. This may be due to two major factors:

•People are spending more time outside

•Populations of white tail deer are expanding

Both of these factors increase the likelihood of exposure to infected http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/tags/ticks.

The prevalence and distribution of Lyme disease in http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/tags/dogs is also on the rise, says the Campanion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) <http://www.capcvet.org/expert-articles/2015-capc-parasite-forecast-shows-lyme-disease-is-still-a-risk-and-spreadin/>.

2. Lyme disease doesn’t come from deer

Lyme disease is transmitted by the so called “Deer Tick” But the deer plays no role in the disease’s development. Deer only serve as a preferred host for the tick. The Lyme disease organism lives in mice and small rodents. When ticks feed on these animals they become infected carriers. When the tick next feeds on a susceptible individual or dog, the organism is transmitted.

3. Lyme disease takes time to transmit (so be vigilant)

When the tick finds a host, be it dog or human, it attaches itself and begins feeding on the host’s blood almost immediately. It takes 36-48 hrs for the organism to enter the host and for the host to become infected with the Lyme organism.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to check yourself and your dog carefully after spending time outside. <http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/how-check-your-dog-ticks>

4. Lyme disease is a year-round threat

Although CAPC says there are seasonal variations in tick populations, ticks should be considered a year-round threat <http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/ticks-dogs-and-winter-weather-danger-still-here>, as should the diseases they carry.

Ticks are generally active and feeding in areas where people go for recreation such as along hiking trails and wherever there is brush for them to hide in.

5. You should have your dog tested every year

CAPC recommends <http://www.capcvet.org/capc-recommendations/capc-general-guidelines> that you, “Test annually for tick-transmitted pathogens, especially in regions where pathogens are endemic or emerging.” <http://www.capcvet.org/parasite-prevalence-maps/> Many veterinarians <http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/tags/veterinarian> rely on a test called ‘Snap 4Dx Plus’ produced by IDEXX <https://www.idexx.com/corporate/home.html> [Editor’s Note: Pet Health Network’s parent company is IDEXX <https://www.idexx.com/corporate/home.html>]. This test checks for current or prior infection with the Lyme organism. A positive test result does not tell you if the organism is still present, how many organisms are present or if the organism is causing problems in your pet. Before starting any treatment your veterinarian will likely recommend further testing; particularly if your dog has no symptoms.

Quick tips to protect your dog from Lyme:

1. Reduce risk of exposure by avoiding areas where ticks might live such as brushy areas and check your dog thoroughly every day for ticks. Remember some of the tick larvae you are looking for may be no larger than a poppy seed.

2. Administer a monthly flea and tick product to kill ticks rapidly and hopefully use one that repels ticks.

3. Ask your veterinarian about vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease.

4. Always consult your pet’s veterinarian if you have questions or concerns. And remember to refer any of your pooch’s behavioral issues or challenges to your local Offleash K9 Training professional. They are available to assist you and your dog with such concerns as canine food aggression, canine potty training and canine socialization.