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The Ruff Report: Number of dogs sickened by Lyme disease surges

The problem of dogs getting sick from Lyme disease is surging in the United States, especially in the Northeast, and large dogs are twice as likely to be afflicted by the tick-borne illness as small dogs, a study has found.


The number of dogs with the bacterial infection - which can cause painful lameness, severe lethargy and in some cases kidney failure - has jumped 21 percent in the U.S. since 2009, according to a report by Banfield Pet Hospital. The highest rate of the disease in 2013 was found in New Hampshire, where one in 15 dogs was infected, followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The lowest rate was found in the Pacific Northwest, where only 1 in 1,000 dogs was infected.

The 2014 report highlights the increase in infectious disease observed at Banfield hospitals nationwide,” Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield Pet Hospital, explains in a media release.

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The report is based on medical data from more than 2.3 million dogs cared for at Banfield hospitals.

The Lyme disease infection is caused by a type of bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi), and it is spread through the bite of an infected deer tick. Transmission occurs when the tick attaches and feeds on an animal during the course of 24 hours, allowing the bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Exposure to the Borrelia bacteria can be detected by a veterinarian using a blood test. Owners can protect their dogs from Lyme disease by regularly checking a pet for ticks and using topical flea and tick preventive medications.

More reports about dogs and health:

 
The Lyme bacteria cannot be transmitted directly from pet to owner, but pets with access to the outdoors can bring an infected tick into the home or yard, increasing the chance of people coming into contact with an infected tick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

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The Ruff Report is a column that appears on MySetterSam.com, a blog written by Joseph A. Reppucci, a retired editor from The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts. Mr. Reppucci worked as a reporter and editor on major daily newspapers in the Boston area for more than 30 years. He is the author of the book, The Hunt of Her Life, a heartwarming story about his once-in-a-lifetime rescue dog. Find it on Createspace.com and Amazon.com.

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