The incidence of Lyme disease in dogs and humans doubled over the past decade. Lyme disease is caused by a corkscrew-shaped, motile bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. These bacteria live in the gut of deer and western black-legged ticks. The host is infected only after the tick is partially engorged which usually is 24-48 hours after the initial attachment.
The Clinical Signs of Lyme Disease Include:
- Arthritis; Swollen Joints
- Fever, Lethargy, Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Kidney Disease
At the Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital, we recommend testing for Lyme, Ehrlicia, Anaplasma, and Heartorm disease every year. This is done by a simple blood test called a 4DX Elisa test. Prevention is the key! The combination of annual bloodwork, monthly topical tick preventative and annual lyme vaccine boosters is the most effective way of preventing this common disease.
We recommend vaccinating for Lyme disease starting as a puppy with annual boosters as adults. Between April 2008 to April 2009, we have seen seventy one Lyme positive cases. If you want to look up the number of positive cases by county in New Jersey, go to www.dogsandticks.com for more information.