Lyme Disease…A growing concern for our canine companions

Over the past several years there has been much information in the media regarding Lyme disease.  For the most part, much of that information didn’t pertain to all of us in Central New York.  That has changed. 

Lyme disease is rapidly emerging as a major threat to dogs in our area and is now considered endemic in Onondaga County.

What does this mean for your dog?  Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by deer ticks.  It often goes unnoticed, but can lead to symptoms that include lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite.  In severe cases, it can cause inflammation in the kidneys, which can be fatal.  More than 14,000 cases have been diagnosed in New York State in the past seven years with the majority occurring in the last three years.  State biologist reported that their annual sampling of ticks at Green Lake State Park in 2008 yielded an astounding 63.5% that were harboring the Lyme disease organism.

In response to this, we feel the time has come to recommend that our canine patients be vaccinated against Lyme disease.  We have chosen a safe, effective vaccine that needs to be given initially, then boostered three weeks later, and then updated annually thereafter.

However, vaccinating against Lyme disease is not enough.  Preventive measures to reduce the chances of a tick bite are also very important.  Ticks not only carry Lyme disease, but also, many other blood-borne conditions such as Anaplasmosis and Ehrilichia. Often these diseases mimic each other and are difficult to differentiate; consequently, a diligent protocol of vaccination and tick prevention is the best option available to our pets at this time.

For more information about this growing concern, to set up an appointment to vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease or to discuss our recommendations for preventive products, please call our office at 315-677-3838