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Health Alert: Lyme Disease

Published on May 12th, 2014

Ozzie2Our mission at Portage Park Animal Hospital has always been to provide the best medical care for your animals. Part of that responsibility includes making treatment and preventative recommendations based on changing disease patterns in our area. Over the past year or so there has been a tremendous increase in the cases of Lyme disease diagnosed in dogs in the Chicagoland area.

Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease is transmitted to humans and dogs primarily by the nymph and adult stages of the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis (the deer tick). Clinical signs in the dog include lameness, fever, lethargy and enlarged lymph nodes and may result in kidney damage and death. Thankfully, some dogs that contract Lyme disease may recover completely if treated with antibiotics at the earliest stages of the disease.

As a result of the alarming number of Lyme disease cases reported for both people and animals in our area, we are now recommending that any dog with exposure to ticks be given a vaccine to protect against Lyme disease. The first year that your dog receives the Lyme vaccine it needs to be boosted 3-4 weeks after initial vaccination. Annual revaccination is then recommended for at risk dogs against the threat of Lyme disease.

As always, it is important to maintain good tick preventative care as well. Please feel free to ask any staff member any questions you have regarding Lyme disease and this change in our core vaccination recommendations.

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