Endemic, expansion or isolated

Geographic Distribution

Since human Lyme disease was discovered in 1975 in Old Lyme, Connecticut, the disease has increased dramatically in incidence and geographic spread and is the most common tick-borne disease in North America. There are established populations of the tick that transmits Lyme disease in Canada. Though western blacklegged ticks are widely distributed in British Columbia, populations are largest in the lower mainland, on Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley. Established populations of blacklegged ticks, on the other hand, have been found in southeastern Quebec, southern and eastern Ontario, southeastern Manitoba and parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.1

Increased canine incidence

Incidence of canine Lyme disease easily keeps pace with the increased incidence in humans. However, there is no national system for capturing incidence of canine Lyme disease. Because of this, reviewing the human data for Lyme disease is important as an indication of the exposure and potential infection in dogs. In fact, the threat of Lyme infection is thought to be greater in dogs than humans.

Human Lyme disease now

Beginning in 2010, human Lyme disease has become nationally reportable to the Public Health Agency of Canada and the monthly disease report can be found on their website at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca.

Prior to 2010, each provincial Public Health Agencies tracked Lyme incidence rates in their respective provinces. To view the rates across Canada prior to 2010, check with your local public health agency.

Canine Lyme disease now

Canine Lyme disease was identified in 1984 in Old Lyme, Connecticut (U.S.A.) and has been spreading ever since. Whenever and wherever dogs come in close contact with infected wildlife such as small mammals and deer and the tick vector, the risk of canine Lyme disease is great.

Know the facts

  1. It is estimated that 50 percent of dogs are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi in endemic disease areas4
  2. Nearly 75 percent of unvaccinated dogs in endemic areas will eventually test positive, and each year some will develop Lyme disease3
  3. Dogs are 50 to 100 times more likely than humans to come in contact with disease-carrying ticks14
  4. More dogs are probably infected with Borellia burgdorferi than reported, as dogs will often show no signs of disease.
  5. Dogs spend more time roaming in areas infested with ticks, especially in their own backyards
  6. The threat of Lyme disease is probably greater in dogs than in humans

What is the threat in your clinic's area?

Is your clinic in a human Lyme disease endemic, expansion or isolated area? Where your practice is located and where your clients live can help determine the level of risk for dogs in your practice.

If your practice has clients living in or traveling in high-endemic expansion areas, your hospital needs to be on the alert for risk, assessing your patients for canine Lyme disease.

What is the Lyme disease risk to your patients?

map
Geographic area Disease threat Know the facts
Endemic Infected tick population well established, putting most dogs at constant risk
  • Three-quarters of human cases are contracted during activities around the home3
  • Nearly 75 percent of unvaccinated dogs in this area will eventually test positive, and each year some will develop Lyme disease3
Expansion Infected ticks increasing, putting dogs at risk based on lifestyle and geography
  • Lyme disease may be found in wildlife corridors/ecosystems where deer live in urban and suburban areas
  • Dogs in these areas can be sentinels for Lyme disease in people
Isolated Infected ticks have been introduced to the area (likely by migratory birds) but populations are not established
  • Lyme disease may be found in wildlife corridors/ecosystems where deer live in urban and suburban areas
  • Dogs in these areas can be sentinels for Lyme disease in people

Stay current about the incidence of Lyme disease in your area

Veterinary professionals need to be informed and up-to-date about Lyme disease in their clinic's areas. The only way to know the rate of infection in your patients is to begin a testing program for Borrelia burgdorferi. You can start by talking with clinics in your area. Ask the staff members if they are seeing an increase in canine Lyme disease. You can also visit www.phac-aspc.gc.ca or your provincial public health website to view human incidence rates in your area.

A comprehensive tick-borne disease prevention program, including canine Lyme vaccination, with a vaccine like Duramune® Lyme, is the only way to assure dogs in endemic and expansion areas are protected.

Risk factors - comprehensive discussion
How to manage risks in all three areas.

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Lyme disease
has been
found in all 10
Canadian
provinces
The threat of Lyme disease is probably greater in dogs than in humans
Dogs will often show no signs of Lyme disease
case study 1
case study 2