Protect Pets Against Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a complex tick-borne disease encompassing many infections carried by the tick.  If a tick attaches, it allows for any of the tick-borne diseases to be transmitted.  The most common diseases, anaplasmosis and Borrelia, are tested for in routine tests. Unfortunately, there are many species of Lyme bacteria, such as Bartonella and Babesia, but current tests only look for one. As a result, false negatives can result. It is an antibody test, so an exposure can result in a positive test result, but does not mean the patient has Lyme disease.

The Lyme vaccine vaccinates for a specific Borrelia species, thus not protecting against all Borrelia bacteria. It has also been shown that if an animal is infested with ticks, the vaccine will not be protective if overwhelmed with infection.

Fortunately, our dogs and cats are fairly tolerant of the Borrelia and Anaplasma bacteria.  Most are asymptomatic to the bacteria, but they can become very ill; the bacteria may affect the brain and nervous system, joints, kidneys and liver.

The best protection against Lyme disease is to use natural products that repel ticks such as amber collars and neem oil. Check pets daily for ticks.

Linda T. Stern, DVM MS CVA, is the owner of Healing Creatures Animal Hospital, located at 3300 Hartzdale Dr., Ste. 108, in Camp Hill. For more information, call 717-730-3755 or visit

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