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Lyme Disease

May 11

Because we are seeing such an increase in Lyme disease at Speak we felt it was crucial to include information on the human side as well. Much of the following information was provided by the Broome County Health Department, The CDC (Center for disease control) as well as ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society). 

Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Broome County has been deemed an endemic area, meaning more than 50% of the ticks in our area are carriers of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Less than half of people diagnosed with Lyme report ever seeing the tell-tale bulls-eye rash. The CDC estimates there are more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme diagnosed every year in the US.  Lyme disease can affect you and your dog in similar ways. Joint pain and lethargy are some of the early symptoms, but chronic Lyme can affect the function of the kidneys as well as the neurologic system. Statistics show as many as 20% of people report ongoing health problems, after initial treatment. 

Prevention is key! When it comes to prevention, there is nothing controversial about tick control. It is crucial in Lyme endemic areas to use tick-controlling products. 

Preventative measures include:

  • Dress to repel- light colored clothing- tuck pants into socks and shirts into pants
  • Use repellents- Permethrin on clothes, 20% deet on skin, essential oils 
  • Walk in the center of trails, and avoid leaf litter and high grasses
  • Shower or bathe within 2 hours of coming indoors
  • Conduct a full body tick check on you and your dog, pay extra attention to warm dark areas (groin, armpits, behind knees, around the ears)

Proper tick removal

  • Use fine- tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Avoid squeezing the body of the tick if engorged.
  • Pull upward with steady pressure. If the mouth breaks off, leave it alone and it should work its way out in a few days.
  • After removing, clean the area with rubbing alcohol or warm soapy water.
  • Place the tick in a small container with rubbing alcohol to kill it or flush down the toilet. DO NOT CRUSH WITH YOUR FINGERS.
  • Removing the tick as soon as possible, within 36 hours, greatly reduces the risk of contracting Lyme disease. 
  • NEVER use any products that will make the tick back out. Essential oils, a match, and motor oil are common. Drowning a tick or making it back out will increase your chances of contracting Lyme as it causes the tick to vomit the contents of its stomach. The gut is where the bacteria lies. 

In climate weather has increased the likelihood of coming into contact with ticks during the winter

  • Adult ticks can be actively feeding anytime the temperature is above 32 degrees F
  • Subzero temperatures have minimal effect on local tick populations because they can freeze and thaw multiple times without becoming effected
  • Prolonged dry conditions will greatly reduce the local populations of ticks due to their inability to cope with desiccation

Lyme disease in canines is detected by a simple 10 minute blood test. The reported statistic through the Companion Animal Parasite Council is 1 in 15 dogs are currently testing positive for Lyme. This year our office has been confirming an average of 6 Lyme positive dogs for every 15 dogs tested. 

For your canine family members there are a few options that we recommend using year round. The gold standard to help ensure your pet will be protected according to the latest medical guidelines is a good monthly preventative used in conjunction with the Lyme vaccine. Unfortunately, there is no known protocol that assures 100% efficacy against Lyme infections, but heeding to this standard of care, drastically reduces the chance of your dog developing this disease. 

Advantix II

Advantix II is to be used on dogs and puppies 7 weeks and older. It is used for the prevention and treatment of ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, biting flies and lice on dogs. It repels and kills ticks including deer ticks (most common carriers of Lyme), American dog ticks, brown dog ticks, and Lone star ticks for up to four weeks. It begins to kill fleas within 1 hour and prevents infestations for 1 month. 


The Seresto collar is safe for dogs and puppies 7 weeks and older. It is a waterproof collar that is designed to slowly and continuously release the active ingredients in low concentrations for eight months. This collar initially starts killing fleas within 24 hours and ticks within 48; it also acts as a REPELLANT for the entire 8 months. 


Simparica is an oral medication that is administered to dogs older than 6 months every 30 days. It is used to prevent fleas and ticks. Simaprica starts killing fleas 3 hours after initial administration and reduces the number of live fleas to 96% after 8 hours. Killing and control of ticks is seen 8 hours after administration. 

A Lyme vaccine, Borrelia Burgolorferi Bacterin, is also available for your dog. The Lyme vaccine is a series of 2 vaccines initially, and is updated annually. Speak with your doctor to determine if this is right for your dog. 

If you have any further questions about Lyme disease in humans please contact the Broome County Health Department Lyme Division (607) 778–2847