Lyme disease is more frequently heard about in mainstream media these days as human cases are on the rise. Veterinarians have been noticing a steady incline in canine positive Lyme disease tests over the past 5-8 years. The St. Lawrence Seaway is now an endemic area for Lyme disease and is a high risk area moving north to a moderate risk area! Mississippi Veterinary Services has noticed a marked increase in positive results within the past few years. We currently are running at a 5% positive test rate (using the 4Dx test) although we do believe that number to be falsely lowered due to the fact that not ALL dogs are being tested. Some pet owners still choose to decline the test although we recommend all dogs be tested on an annual basis. A couple of the pet owners with positive pets noted they had the human symptoms and when checked by their physician were positive also. Check out this map to show the incidence of Lyme, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and Heartworm in your area http://www.dogsandticks.com/diseases_in_your_area.php
A little history: Lyme (otherwise known as Borrelia burgdorferi) was first discovered in Lyme Wisconsin after multiple young families had children and adults suffering the same symptoms. In 1990 the only Lyme positive area in Ontario was Long Point, Lake Erie. In the mid 2000′s incidence reported by Veterinarians in Southern Ontario was doubling annually for multiple suspected reasons. Some possibilities considered are changing environment with the exception of winter 2014, warmer than usual winters, increased deer populations, migratory birds with increased incidence of Lyme positive ticks on board and reproducing in the new area.
The following pictures are taken from Public Health Canada, the web site has really good information about clinical symptoms as well as long term effects.
Unfed Ixodes scapularis, more commonly known as the black legged tick. 1. Larva, 2. Nymph, 3 & 4 adult.
Post meal, the important thing to note here is the black head and mouth parts. Easiest to see on the 3 smallest ticks, but difficult to see on the fully engorged female. After removal the tick can be kept in a jar until it metabolizes its meal so the head can be more easily seen.
To submit a tick, please use the following link and download the submission pdf, fill it in on the computer, print and submit with tick.
Testing your dog can be done easily in clinic and takes aproximately 10 minutes after a blood sample is taken. It is a vector born disease test called the 4Dx Plus test from Idexx. It can confirm heartworm disease, Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme), Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis.
Positive canines would then have a Quant C6 test done to further evaluate to obtain a numerical value, so that following a course of antibiotic treatment a second Quant C6 test would be done to verify effective treatment.
Prevention is key, currently several products are available for ticks. HOWEVER; there are only 2 types of tick preventatives that cover all ticks. It is important to read product information to be sure the tick preventative you are purchasing will cover the black legged tick Ixodes scapularis. Contact the clinic anytime for information.
Check out the website from Health Canada as well for prevention for humans. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/tickinfo-eng.php#sec-1.11