Lyme Matters


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In conjunction with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Global Lyme Alliance (GLA), I’ve launched a One Health campaign called Stop Lyme, and I write about it for the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Pets Matter column. 

Of course, people matter too – and that is why I thought, if a dog is diagnosed with a tick disease, likely some human (if not many humans) were there too, on the other end of the leash.

We share much with our dogs. We often share the same environments. And we share a similar susceptibility to tick diseases.

In humans, tick disease – and specifically Lyme – is controversial. I am learning more about that…but I do know some facts are irrefutable.CDC Lyme disease cases in Steve Dale's column on Stop Lyme

Lyme disease (so, now not counting other tick diseases – which there are many) is more common than hepatitis C, HIV, colon cancer, and breast cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Global Lyme AllianceAccording to GLA, one one in 10 cases are officially reported because criteria and testing accuracy vary greatly.

Some indicate Lyme is really only a serious issue in New England. Whoa! Totally untrue – and that goes for people and for dogs. Lyme is increasingly common in mid-New York State, all the way up through Main, from the District of Columbia down into the Carolinas and throughout most of the Midwest and upper Midwest, and it’s spreading.

So, why am I worried about all this? Well, much of that is explained in this piece on the AAHA site. And because I know people are suffering, and it’s not being talked about enough. Dogs too – but actually we can do more to protect our dogs from tick disease than we can ourselves. I think we need to be proactive about protecting our dogs, and support research so we can better understand how to protect ourselves.