Czech Scientists: New Vaccine for Lyme's Disease in Dogs
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Researchers working at the Czech company Bioveta have made a breakthrough that's likely to positively affect thousands of dogs who suffer from Lyme's disease.
Lyme's disease is transmitted by deer ticks; small cousins of the spider. The blood-born bacteria they carry can have a number of effects or show no signs at all. They include flu-like symptoms, joint damage, heart complications and kidney problems. On some occasions, kidney issues can lead to death.
Statistics on the number of dogs infected each year were unavailable at the time of this article, but the CDC reports that in 2006, 20,000 Americans were infected. It's estimated that only 5-10 percent of dogs found with deer ticks will develop the clinical form of Lyme's disease, but they can still carry it and show milder symptoms like fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. The vaccine in development by Bioveta is in the testing phase and should be on the market within a year.
Deer ticks can be found in heavily wooded areas and grasslands. They're roughly the size of a pinhead, and can easily bury themselves deep within a dog's fur. A telltale “bulls-eye” rash forms around the area of the bite after the tick has had time to attach itself to the skin.
Removing ticks is tricky. They burrow their heads into the skin, and if the body is tugged off the head can be left under the skin, causing infection. It is recommended that the tick be pulled off with a fine-tipped forceps. Do not try to burn, smother in Vaseline or squash the tick.
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