Lyme Disease is named for a town in Connecticut and caused by a tick borne spirochete, Borrelia burdorferi. In dogs, Lyme Disease does not begin to manifest for weeks to months after infection at which point signs of arthritis and sometimes fever is noticed. Unlike in people, heart and neurologic symptoms are rare.
In dogs, the most serious, yet very rare, problem is the potential to develop glomerular disease, a type of kidney disease. This can occur when the immune system is stimulated over a long time by an infectious organism.
The vector for Lyme Disease is the Ixodes tick. The adult tick seeks larger host, hence its name the deer tick; however it can and will feed on people, dogs, and other mammals. While taking a blood meal, adult ticks can transmit the Lyme spirochete if they are carrying it.
This process requires a minimum of 48 hours, which means that if the tick is removed within 48 hours of attachment, the spirochete cannot be transmitted and the host will not get the disease.
Tick control on the host is an effective means of infection prevention. There are several effective tick control products available, including: Frontline®, Revolution®, NexGard®, Simparica®, and Bravecto®. All of these products either kill the tick or cause it to drop off prior to the 48-hour deadline.
On the West Coast of the United States, there is far less Lyme Disease than in the East, although the Northern Coast of California is considered to have moderate risk. This is because the Lyme vector in these areas is primarily Ixodes pacificus, a tick that strongly prefers to feed on reptiles rather than mammals. Reptile blood has natural anti-Borrelia factors that kill the Lyme spirochete and prevent further transmission.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) provides a color coded map of the U.S.