How prevalent is canine Lyme disease in the U.S.?
According to the Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell University, Lyme disease is the most common arthropod-borne disease in dogs in the U.S. The Banfield State of Pet Health™ 2014 Report cites that the prevalence of Lyme disease in dogs has increased by 21 percent since 2009. As you can see in the map below, Lyme Disease risk in NJ is HIGH.
What are the clinical signs of Lyme disease in dogs?
The clinical signs of Lyme disease can and do vary greatly among individual dogs. These signs may consist of fever, lameness, swelling in the joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy and loss of appetite. Additionally, dogs with Lyme disease frequently develop subclinical arthritis and inflammation that is not readily apparent during a routine examination.
What are the current treatment recommendations for Lyme infected dogs?
Treatment for dogs with positive tests for Lyme disease has been a controversial topic. When the decision is made to use antibiotics, doxycycline is most commonly used. In addition to doxycycline, other antibiotics have been shown to be effective as well.
How is Lyme disease diagnosed in dogs?
There are several diagnostic tests that can be used to determine if your dog has been exposed or is actively infected with the Lyme disease spirochetes. Many dogs are screened on an annual basis for exposure using an in-clinic test called IDEXX SNAP®4Dx® Plus. The Lyme disease portion of this simple, blood-based test screens for antibodies that recognize a peptide called C6. This test can yield a positive result starting approximately 21 days post infection. A quantitative C6 test is also available that can precisely measure the levels of antibody to C6 and can be retested six months after treatment to ensure the levels are decreasing.
How can I protect my dog from Lyme Disease?
Prevention of Lyme disease involves using a combination of methods. Products to repel or kill ticks such as the oral medication Bravecto or topical Frontline Gold should always be used. These products, however, are only used to control ticks and may not prevent 100% of ticks from attaching and transmitting Lyme disease. Ticks also transmit a multitude of other diseases including but not limited to Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and many more. A vaccine is also available to prevent Lyme disease in dogs. The Vanguard cr Lyme vaccine is the next-generation Lyme disease vaccine that helps provide a broad spectrum of coverage. The initial vaccine series consists of two vaccines, two to four weeks apart, then the vaccine is given anually.