Lyme Disease Appears to be on the Rise: In Dogs and People

Even AARP is expressing concern about an increase in Lyme Disease, a topic I've written about here for some time.

The story is most mostly focused on Lyme Disease in people, explaining that it can start with a bull's eye rash

Deer tick bite in person.jpg

Deer tick bite in a person

and that achy feeling you get when
you have the flu. Except that it's not the flu, it's probably  Lyme disease, a bacterial illness carried by a tick that's no bigger than the head of a pin.

The enemy is the deer tick, which carries bacteria it picks up from biting deer or mice. The disease is named after Old Lyme, CT., the city where the disease was first reported in the U.S. in 1975, and May through July is prime Lyme season

tick biting dog.jpg

tick biting a dog

The tick is so tiny and its bite painless that most people don't even realize they've been bitten.

So, dogs definitely aren't going to necessarily notice they've been bitten - so there is likely to be no scratching except if there are multiple bites. And on hairy dogs, the small ticks are hard to find. Also, if the tick falls off, you may not know it happened until symptoms occur. Because, the symptoms are general - people may pay little attention until they worsen. And they might worsen. What's really scary is that we now know aside from infecting dogs with Lyme, there are other diseases which the ticks can deliver simultaneously , such as nasty sounding anaplasmosis and/or ehrlichiosis.

In people, there are precautions to take. In dogs, there's one additional precaution - that's a vaccine against Lyme Disease. Ask your veterinarian. Aside from the Lyme vaccine, there are tick products, but as veterinary partisitologist Dr. Michael Dryden warns, some products work better than others - definitely see your veterinarian.  Check out these websites for more, Companion Animal Parasite Council and dogsandticks.com.

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