Lyme Disease– New Test

The researchers at Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine just announced a new test to aid veterinarians in the diagnosis of Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is a bizarre disease with many varied and unusual symptoms that range from absolutely no symptoms to varied symptoms such as: lethargy, severe lameness, joint swelling, kidney disease and even seizures. Up until now, many dogs tested positive but had no symptoms, so what to do? Wait for the dog to get sick, or treat? It is very important to catch this disease in it early stages. This new test helps the veterinarian differentiate between an active infection and those dogs who simply have antibodies from previous exposure &/or vaccination. Most importantly, this test can also distinguish between dogs with early-stage infection and those with low-grade chronic infection. This year the Center for Disease Control (CDC) came out with statistics showing that Lyme Disease is on the increase in the Northeast in PEOPLE, especially on Long Island. Some of this can be attributed to the “Indian Summers” we have experienced this past winter with temperatures in the high 60’s in February. Many of these cases come from ticks being brought into owners homes by their pet dogs. Ticks are the primary vector for spreading Lyme Disease to dogs, horses, people, and other animals. The ticks acquire the disease-causing bacteria by feeding on infected rodents and deer. Last year Yale researchers discovered that birds also spread this serious disease. Common birds, such as robins and blue jays, are considered reservoirs of this disease, as they can carry ticks long distances right into your own backyard. We had over 70 positive cases in dogs in the Locust Valley/Glen Cove and surrounding areas in 2010, and this year we are already diagnosing it in dogs that tested negative last year. The most effective way to protect your dog is by vaccination. The newer vaccines induce 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 virtually eliminates all adverse reactions. The CDC now recommends the monthly applications of tick/flea products be applied to the dogs skin all year long instead of just the warmer months, because of the increasing threat to humans. These products kill ticks within 24 hours which is less time the tick needs to transmit the disease to the dog or human. Daily brushing and combing are not enough as the tick is so small it is usually missed.