Assess your dog's
Lyme Disease Risk Factors
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
Three-quarters of human cases in endemic areas are contracted during activities around
- 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?
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- From the bite of an infected Ixodes tick called "the deer tick" or "blacklegged
- 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.