Thursday, April 21, 2016

April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

  •  CAPC Recommends Screening dogs for exposure to Borrelia burgdorferi due to rapid geographic expansion of endemic areas. 
  • In areas where Lyme disease is endemic or emerging, vaccinate dogs against Borrelia burgdorferi and reducing the risk of infection through year-round tick control and avoiding areas with ticks. 
  • Diagnosing Lyme disease based on a combination of clinical signs, including arthritis and renal disease, and positive serology. 
  • Veterinarians recognize that dogs can be sentinels for the risk of Lyme disease to people.

Borrelia burgdorferi

Borrelia burgdorferi

*Despite the common finding of antibodies reactive to B. burgdorferi in cats in endemic areas, natural disease caused by infection in cats—if it occurs at all—is poorly understood. Accordingly, little is known about the prevalence of infection, disease manifestations, and treatment recommendations for feline


  • The standard treatment for disease caused by B. burgdorferi infection in dogs is doxycycline at 10 mg/kg orally every 24 hours for 30 days. 
  • Longer courses of treatment may be necessary in some dogs, particularly those with nephropathy. Prophylactic use of antibiotics following a tick bite is not recommended in dogs given the high frequency of exposure in the face of a relatively low incidence of clinical disease. However, continued monitoring of such dogs for future signs of infection or disease may be warranted. 
  • Antibiotic treatment of a clinically normal, seropositive dog is controversial. Most seropositive dogs do not have any evidence of clinical disease. However, because the course of infection can be prolonged, treating in the subclinical phase is viewed by some veterinarians as potentially beneficial in preventing the development of chronic disease. Currently, CAPC recommends that seropositive dogs be tested for the presence of other, coinfecting tick-borne disease agents and for evidence of abnormalities on hematology or urinalysis and that a tick-control program be instituted. Antibiotic treatment of seropositive dogs in the absence of clinical or pathological abnormalities is not recommended. However, every conceivable precaution should be taken to minimize any chance that ticks could acquire B. burgdorferi from seropositive pets.