Lyme disease cases 10 times higher than previously reported, says CDC

Tammie Barbee poses her dog Walle, a Beagle-Bassett, before the start of the World's Ugliest Dog competition in Petaluma, on Friday, June 21, 2013. Credit: Getty Images
Don’t forget to protect your pets!
Credit: Getty Images

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new estimates for the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, which was 10 times higher than previously reported.

While the CDC’s newest numbers estimate the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is about 300,000, it’s important to remember that pets are susceptible to Lyme disease as well.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that is carried and transmitted by ticks. It can cause fatigue, fever, joint pain, kidney damage, lethargy, loss of appetite, neurological disorders and trouble walking. Lyme disease is treatable, but as with most problems the sooner it is caught, the better. If left untreated, it is potentially fatal.

Here are some recommendations from the veterinarians at BluePearl Veterinary Partners to ensure your pet is protected:

  • Talk with your veterinarian about vaccinating your pet against Lyme disease.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about the best way to prevent fleas and ticks from latching onto your pet. They may suggest an oral medication, where your pet is given a pill once a month, or they may encourage spot-on medications, medicated shampoos, powders, tick dips or tick collars.
  • Try to keep your pets indoors as much as possible and have your yard and home treated.
  • Inspect your pet for ticks if they have been outside near wooded areas.
  • If a tick is found, use tweezers to remove the tick as close to the body of the pet as possible, trying to get the head of the tick out.
  • Keep an eye on your pet and look out for any changes in behavior.
  • If your pet is not acting normally, take him or her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

According to data provided by the CDC, Lyme disease is found throughout the continental U.S. but occurs more frequently in the Midwest and eastern U.S.

According to the CDC, 96 percent of Lyme disease cases in the U.S. were reported from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.


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