Assess your dog's

Lyme Disease Risk Factors

Boy Walking Dog

Assess your dog's risk factors

Assessing the risk for your dog's exposure to canine Lyme disease is a combination of where you live, your dog's lifestyle and his overall health. While many dogs are at risk in their own backyards because of where they live, others may have hunting or travel lifestyles to put them at risk. Understanding the exposure risk in your local area is critical.

The breed of your dog is not an important risk factor. Big or small, couch potatoes or hunting dogs, any dog can be at risk. Whenever and wherever dogs come in close contact with wildlife areas where mice and deer live, there are ticks AND the risk of exposure to Lyme disease is great.

Consider the following risk factors:

  • Have you found a tick on your dog or yourself?
  • Does your dog live in an endemic area for Lyme disease?
  • Does your dog travel to Lyme endemic areas?
  • Does your dog live in a suburban home next to wildlife areas?
  • Is your dog's yard surrounded by tall brush?
  • Does your dog go walking, hiking, picnicking, fishing or camping in wooded areas?
  • Does your dog frequent areas with many deer?

Know the facts:

  • Nearly 75 percent of unvaccinated dogs in endemic areas will eventually test positive, and each year some will develop Lyme disease 3 .
  • Three-quarters of human cases in endemic areas are contracted during activities around the home 3 .
  • Canine Lyme disease is largely preventable by using tick control, tick checks and through vaccination. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog's risk factors and ask for a recommendation about vaccinating with a Lyme vaccine.
  • If you find a tick on your dog, call your veterinarian. Canine Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, particularly if caught early. Your veterinarian will determine the best course of care.

How do dogs get Lyme disease?

  • From the bite of an infected Ixodes tick called "the deer tick" or "blacklegged tick"
  • The tick must be infected with a specific bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi for your dog to get canine Lyme disease
  • This bacteria is what actually causes canine Lyme disease - the tick is just the transmitter or "vector" for the bacteria
  • Dogs don't get Lyme disease from other dogs or people
  • Dogs can get Lyme disease anywhere there are infected ticks, such as wildlife areas or their own backyards
  • Your dog is at higher risk for getting Lyme disease if he lives in an area with a high incidence of human Lyme disease.
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Lyme disease
has been
found in all 10
The threat of Lyme disease is probably greater in dogs than in humans
Dogs will often show no signs of Lyme disease


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