Q: I’m concerned about whether to vaccinate my dog for Lyme disease, or not. My veterinarian says it’s not necessary. While, a friend who I often go hiking with said his veterinarian recommends the vaccine, and his dogs are vaccinated. What do you think? C. G., Jackson, MI
A: “We hear this a lot – the conversation over the past 10 years has changed,” says Dr. John VanDaele, of Saginaw, MI. “I would have once answered, let’s not worry so much unless your dog is in New England. There are over 700 cases of Lyme disease diagnosed in dogs in just our state so far this year. Increasingly, Lyme is occurring where previously it didn’t exist.”
“Had the email been about a dog who lived in a high rise, and just did business on the sidewalk – the answer might be different,” adds VanDaele. “However, you have a dog who goes hiking, and therefore is exposed to ticks.”.
He adds, “The deer tick (black legged tick) which carries Lyme may not be the most common tick in this region. But then my own sister lives near you, and her hunting dog was diagnosed with Lyme.”
VanDaele continues, “Ticks are nasty little creatures, and checking the dog for ticks daily is important. We have a client who moved to Missouri and the first day there, she pulled off 30 ticks. In some places, it’s crazy.”
Also, work with your veterinarian to choose appropriate tick prevention. Recommendations with be based on the mix of pets you have in your home, and depending on where you happen to live.
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