APRIL is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

This year, 2014, The American Veterinary Medical Association has declared April as Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and for many good reasons: One out of 16 dogs will test positive, and the number of  human cases increased from 19,931 in 2006 to over 30,000 cases in 2013. This disease remains the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the US. It is on the increase in the north eastern states, and especially on Long Island. Some suspect Global Warming, and some believe it is due to ticks resistance to the insecticides we use,  We had over 100 positive cases in dogs in the Locust Valley/Glen Cove area in the last 2 years. Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, commonly called black-legged ticks or deer ticks.They spread the disease to dogs, horses, humans and other animals.  Several years ago it was discovered by Yale researchers that birds, such as robins and blue jays, can carry ticks long distances right into our own backyards. The incidence of Lyme continues to rise also because we now have deer in the Locust Valley area. The ticks acquire the disease-causing bacteria by feeding on infected rodents and deer. Lyme Disease can be a very complex and serious disease if not caught early. It can result in painful lameness, chronic joint problems, serious kidney disease and neurological problems.The most effective way to protect your dog is by vaccination. The vaccine induces the body to produce antibodies against the bacteria in the tick and locks the bacteria inside the tick. So the vaccine actually works within the tick, not the dog. These are unique vaccines known as Recombinant vaccines, and are considered “genetically engineered wonders of modern science.” They contain only a single protein which practically eliminates all adverse reactions. Monthly preventative medications are available, both topical and now a new 1x a month oral chewable pill.  These products kill ticks within 24 hours which is less time the tick needs to transmit the disease to the dog or human. Looking for ticks by  daily brushing and combing is not enough as the tick is so small it is usually missed. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.