Good News, Bad News

Bad news: A new tick-borne disease has recently been discovered, in people. It has already affected an estimated 100,000 people in New York State alone because it often goes undiagnosed and untreated, according to physicians at Columbia University. The symptoms are very similar to Lyme disease but usually a rash does not develop. High fever, aches, weakness, recurring fevers, etc. are some of the symptoms. In people, it often is confused with and called “chronic Lyme disease”, but it is different. And, unfortunately, there is no specific test for this disease yet. And, when the regular Lyme test comes back negative it usually goes untreated. Please check with your physician if you have any suspicions, DO NOT WAIT. The causative agent is a bacterium in the same family (Borrelia) as the regular Lyme disease and it is carried by the same deer tick that dogs ge t. This one is called Borrelia miyamotoi. Good news: Although there is no test for this disease as of this writing (July 5, 2013), the treatment is the same as regular Lyme disease. However, the antibiotic, Doxycycline, must be started early in the disease process. Also, as of this writing, this disease has not been diagnosed in dogs, but the same ticks that dogs get can be brought into the house and infect humans. So, it is just common sense that dogs should have the newer preventative tick and flea products applied once a month to their skin. Don’t forget, even if your dog does not leave your property, birds can and do bring in ticks from far way. Also, don’t forget that Lyme disease is on the increase in the northeast of America, in people. It is preventable, so protect yourself as well as your dogs. Keep dogs out of the woods as ticks usually climb up approximately 4-6 inches on weeds, grass and plants and wait for a host to come by. Check your pet carefully for ticks and check yourself. Ask your veterinarian about the newer and improved topical tick/flea products and Lyme vaccines.