Vet Hospital information. Is Lyme disease a risk for dogs who live in Mississauga? In short the risk is low for dogs acquiring Lyme disease in Mississauga but there are exceptions and over time (years) this risk may be rising. If your dog has visited the Thousand Islands or Prince Edward county area near Kingston, Southwestern Ontario, Southern Manitoba
or parts of the United States the risk of your dog acquiring the disease increases significantly. If you do not know the location history of your dog or puppy or your dog comes from a shelter, your pet may be at an increased risk for the disease. Many shelter dogs come from other locations in Canada and the United States. At present there is not a known established population of deer ticks in Mississauga but there are ticks called adventitious ticks that hitchhike on the back of birds. These birds are migratory birds witch may come from areas where the prevalence of lime disease is quite high like the northeastern Atlantic coast of the USA.
Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through a tick bite. In Ontario the overall proportion of ticks infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is 17.5%. Ticks need to be attached for a minimum of 24 hours before transmission occurs. Ticks found on your dog should be removed with tweezers by yourself or by your Veterinarian at the vet hospital, see http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/disease/lyme.aspx. For more information on removing ticks see http://www.dogheirs.com/dogheirs/posts/1194-removing-ticks-safely-from-your-dog. Only the deer tick can transmit Lyme disease so it is important to identify the tick once removed from your pet. Your Veterinarian would send the tick to a lab for identification. Deer ticks habitat include deciduous forests and adjacent brush or grass. Another name for the deer tick is the blacklegged tick the Latin name is Lxodes scapularis.
Dogs can develop the disease 2 to 5 months after infection. 95% of infected dogs do not develop symptoms which is quite different than the human population. Typical clinical signs in dogs with Lyme disease are fever, anorexia, polyarthritis, shifting leg lameness, joint swelling and lymphadenomegaly (lymph node enlargement).
For mor information on Lyme disease risk and dogs see http://www.canadianveterinarians.net/documents/lyme-disease
Dr Kathryn Hahn