Lyme disease reminders as the ticks are returning again in the fall.
The Ottawa Valley is seeing an increase in positive Lyme disease cases in both Human and animal medicine. We have traditionally had 3 positive cases/year on the human side, and approximately 1000 cases/year Canada wide on the animal side with approximately 2/3 in Ontario and Quebec.
With the increases in temperature and milder winters over the last 2-3 years we are seeing an increase in the migrating deer population locally that brings the deer ticks with them. We have such a beautiful valley full of ponds and streams that the migratory bird populations are also carrying ticks in with them.
Prevention lies in 2 steps. Firstly prevent, for humans cover up with long sleeves and pants, have shirts tucked in and socks that come up the calf. Secondly any spray with DEET in it is a deterrent. For our four legged friends you can vaccinate against the disease or apply a once monthly tick treatment that deters the ticks from staying on out pets.
Annual blood testing can detect whether your pet has been exposed. Testing can be done any time there is a concern over bites, especially if the pet becomes symptomatic with signs like general lethargy, fever, joint swelling, heat or pain. Long term this disease damages kidneys, heart and the neurological system in both humans and canines.
I hope you find the following links helpful to answer other questions you may have relating to Lyme disease in either humans or our canine friends.
Ottawa Citizen reports increase in human cases in CHEO summer 2012
Canine Lyme information Sponsored by: Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada), they produce vaccines against Lyme. 2012
City of Ottawa information with regards to Lyme disease 2012
Older story from W5 in 2009 predicting the move of Lyme disease north as well as difficulty recognizing the disease in humans.