Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria


Strong but painless bite

The Ixodes tick transmits the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria through the skin by a strong but painless bite. Most hosts do not even feel the bite, which is why the tick can remain undiscovered.

After the initial bite through the skin, the tick secretes "cement" to anchor to its host where it is difficult to remove. Then, it begins to take in its blood meal about 30 minutes later. But unlike most other insect bites, the tick's bite is painless and non-irritating, because its saliva contains:

  • An anesthetic to numb and reduce pain
  • An antihistamine to reduce allergic reaction or itching
  • An anticoagulant to enhance blood flow
  • An anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling
  • An immunosuppressant to help stop host immune responses allowing the tick to continue to feed

Although early feeding is slow, ticks can continue to feed for days if undetected and female ticks can remain attached for up to a week.

Infection does not happen immediately

The ratio of the number of hours the tick is attached to the host and the number of hosts that were infected is clearly in favor of the host. A study done in rodents showed that in the first 24 hours, only one of 14 rodents became infected. Then at 48 hours, the number of infected rodents rose to five. At 72 hours, the number rose dramatically to 13 out of 14 rodents. It is thought that the timelines are the same for other mammals, such as dogs and humans.

Tick checks are important

This slow transmission of the disease demonstrates the importance of incorporating tick checks into any comprehensive canine Lyme disease preventive program. However, tick checks, even if done within the recommended 4-hour timeframe, are often less than 100 percent effective.

So while effective tick prevention strategies are an important part of a Lyme disease prevention program, using an effective vaccine, like Duramune® Lyme, adds an additional safeguard to comprehensive Lyme disease prevention.

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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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