Lyme disease is present in the Hampton Roads region. It is transmitted via the bite of a tick and caused by an organism called Borrelia burgdorferi . Lyme disease can be very debilitating. The most common problems noted in dogs that have been exposed to the bacteria are lameness due to arthritis and kidney disease. Heart and nervous system diseases can also be seen. Though treated with antibiotics for 21 to 28 days, no one is certain that the organism is ever totally eliminated from the body by the treatments.
In 2012 Birdneck Animal Hospital diagnosed six canine patients as having been infected with the Lyme disease bacteria. Most of the dog owners that bring their pets to see us have dogs that have had the Lyme disease vaccine. Only one of the positive dogs in 2012 had been previously vaccinated. That dog had been vaccinated only two months prior to the positive test, so had likely been exposed prior to the vaccine.
Protect your dog against Lyme disease by having him vaccinated and by using tick prevention. It is important to use preventatives year round in this region. Preventatives come as topical liquids such as Vectra 3D and Advantix, and as a specialized collar called the Prventic Collar. Regular over the counter flea/tick collars are much less effective. The vaccine should also be used, as even the best tick preventative is not 100% effective. Dogs receive two Lyme vaccines two to three weeks apart the first year, then a booster once a year afterward.