Research Spotlight: Lyme Disease


What is Lyme disease?

  • A bacterial disease of dogs and humans that is transmitted by tick bites.

  • It is the most common tick-transmitted disease in the US, with over 25,000 cases in 2014.

  • The blacklegged tick (or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis) spreads the disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States.

  • The western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) spreads the disease on the Pacific Coast.

Why study it?

  • While most common in the northeastern coastal states and the upper Midwest, it is moving into other regions of the U.S. and Canada.

  • Dogs infected with Lyme disease rarely show signs of illness (typically lameness), but can be severe (e.g., kidney disease).

  • Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Lyme disease in dogs are complicated by limited research and conflicting professional guidance.

  • Current practices may unnecessarily place dogs at risk for illness and negative outcomes.

CHF-Funded Study:

02284-A: Lyme Disease in Dogs: Prevalence, Clinical Illness, and Prognosis
Principal Investigator: Dr. Jason Stull, VMD, PhD; Ohio State University
Total Grant Amount: $14,148.00; Grant Period: 7/1/2016 - 6/30/2018

What are Dr. Stull & his team going to do?

  • Follow a large group of dogs from different regions of the U.S. and Canada.

  • Determine how often healthy dogs test positive for Lyme disease (meaning they have been bitten by an infected tick) and identify how often they later develop a Lyme related illness.

How will this study help dogs?

  • These findings are likely to extend to better understanding of canine and human Lyme disease, and improve health outcomes.

  • This work will allow us to identify, define and improve upon best practices for prevention and control of Lyme disease in areas with different Lyme risks, ultimately improving the health of dogs and people.

Learn more about CHF's Tick-Borne Disease Initiative, or make a donation to support this Initiative.

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