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5 Facts You May Not Know About Lyme Disease in Dogs

Reviewed by Dr. Melissa Beall, DVM, PhD on Friday, March 18, 2016
Posted March 16, 2016 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Sad Golden

If you are not yet aware of Lyme disease, you almost certainly will be soon. Lyme disease has spread to many regions of the U.S. Lyme disease is a condition caused by an organism, called Borrelia burgdorferi. It’s not a new disease. There is actually evidence in at least one Egyptian mummy that the organism infected people 5000 years ago, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation. That organization also says that Lyme was first observed in the United States in the 1960s, in a village called Lyme, CT. In the 1980s, Willy Burgdorfer showed the causative agent to be a bacteria transmitted in North America by deer ticks (Ixodes scapularum).

Once thought to be a very localized and uncommon disease, Lyme has become widespread in both humans and animals. In large part this is because of the increasing range of deer, and therefore the distribution of the black legged (deer) tick.

No matter where you live, it’s good to learn all that you can about Lyme disease. Follow this link for Lyme 101, or continue reading for 5 facts you might not have known before:

1. Lyme disease is on the rise
According to the CDC, there are over 30,000 cases of Lyme disease in people every year and the incidence of confirmed Lyme cases has been increasing since 1993. This may be due to two major factors:

  • People are spending more time outside
  • Populations of white tail deer are expanding

Both of these factors increase the likelihood of exposure to infected ticks.

The prevalence and distribution of Lyme disease in dogs is also on the rise, says the Campanion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC).

You can see how common Lyme disease is in your area by checking out Pet Health Network’s disease maps.

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Mike has more than 35 years of experience in companion animal veterinary practice and is a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2013.