Lyme disease is getting quite a bit of press these days, since cases in humans are increasing at an alarming rate. This should not come a much of a surprise, since it is the pattern that most of the north-eastern states of the United States have experienced over the last few years.
Nonetheless, what is of most interest to us, as veterinarians, it to ensure that we give proper recommendations to our clients, for the health and well-being of their pets. It has become quite apparent that the number of cases seen in dogs is also increasing. The database maintained by one of the veterinary diagnostic laboratories indicates that 730 tests were positive in Ontario thus far in 2016 and 120 in Quebec. We must keep in mind that not all veterinary hospitals are linked into this database, so there could be a great number of unreported positive tests.
We have become well aware that the tick population on the mountain of Rigaud harbours the causing agent of Lyme disease called Borrelia burdogferi. We have also had dogs from St-Lazare and Hudson with Lyme positive test results. Prevention is the key. Both from the standpoint of using an effective tick prevention product but also considering vaccination, if indicated by the risk factor.
Our clients were still reporting active ticks in December of 2015, and we removed a few as early as March of this year. Unfortunately, I am noticing that many of our clients are just now coming in to start their preventive in mid-June. In order to have successful prevention of tick-borne diseases, we must start preventives as early as March or April and continue until December, depending on weather patterns. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, so we recommend prevention from May to November.
If you have not already started prevention, please call us as soon as possible to see if an appointment is needed.
The take-home message for next year is: start early!