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One of the advantages of having computerized medical records is that I can pick up changes in the frequency of diseases over time.
So, historically our Lyme positive rate is 3-5%, but when I ran the numbers for the first quarter of 2009, I found that our Lyme positive rate is climbing. From the beginning of the year we have run 207 Lyme tests (this is the 4Dx test that you get reminders for if you have dogs) and 13 have been positive. That calculates to a slightly higher 6.3% positive rate, which is almost double from last year.
Not all dogs that are exposed to Lyme disease get sick, but a positive test makes me ask a few extra questions and check out a couple things more thoroughly.
I am not a fan of the Lyme vaccination in general. I advocate for as few vaccines as possible for each pet depending on their risk factors. I do think that the Lyme vaccine is warranted for some dogs, but since it is 70% effective, and one of the more immuno-stimulating vaccines we give, I think the average dog is better using the topical tick medications (Advantix, Frontline etc)
At this point I am not changing any recommendations, but am watching our positive rate more closely. I'll let you know if I think this represents a change in your dog's care.
If you want more info, the following article is a good overview.
If you have a cat, you can pretty much ignore this discussion. Lyme disease is very rare in the cat.
Have a great week.
MarkIf you haven't already discussed Lyme disease with your dog's veterinarian, now is the time to do.