Over the last several years we have seen a rise in the number of dogs testing positive for tick diseases such as Lyme disease (see info below on Lyme Disease in Dogs). In order to protect your pet from ticks and the diseases that they carry, there are a number of different products available that we recommend. For the best coverage, it is advisable to treat your dog and cat for ticks year round. The products we recommend using for tick prevention all contain newer generation insecticides (with a few exceptions) which are designed to affect insect nervous systems (such as fleas and ticks), not mammalian nervous systems (such as dogs, cats, and humans). These products come in a variety of forms to suit individual client and pet needs and concerns. Some are topical applications, some are collars, and some are oral medications. Some are available over-the-counter, while others are available by prescription only. We stock some, but not all, of these products in our hospital. Those that we do not stock are available through our Online store. Currently, the Seresto collar and Nexgard oral chewable tablets are the most popular products among our clients. For more information about any of these products, please call our staff or talk to the veterinarian at your next visit to East End Veterinary Medical Centre.
Following is a list of tick products for dogs and cats. This is not a complete list, just one that contains some of the products that we consider to be acceptable and effective. There are dozens of products available today, with a wide range of costs. In general, it has been our experience that tick control is one of those situations in which “you get what you pay for”. Most of the products listed below are in the pricier range of available products. If your pet has the potential for tick exposure, don’t skimp on good quality tick control. The less expensive products are not as effective, and more importantly, not as safe. In addition, some of the newer products are quicker at killing ticks when they are taking a blood meal from their host. The quicker the tick dies, the less chance there is for it to transmit potentially harmful diseases, such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis.
Not all of these can be used in both dogs and cats, so be sure to check each product’s specifications carefully. Products that contain pyrethrins or permethrins should NOT be used on cats. In addition, some of the products provide coverage for issues other than ticks, such as fleas, heartworm, and gastro-intestinal parasites. Some of them are available over-the-counter, others by prescription only through a veterinary facility. This list changes often, as new products are developed and come to market. We will do our best to keep this list up-to-date.
-Nexgard Oral Chew Tabs (Merial)
-Seresto Collar (canine and feline) (Bayer)
-K9 Advantix (Bayer)
-Canine Revolution (Zoetis)
Opinions on Vaccination, Diagnosis, and Treatment:
Over the past ten years, the incidence of Lyme disease in Western Pennsylvania has increased dramatically, both in humans and dogs. We are now considered an endemic area for Lyme disease. The disease process differs between humans and dogs. Whereas over 90% of people that get exposed to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) via a tick bite become symptomatic for Lyme disease, the opposite is true in dogs. Our current understanding is that between 70-90% of dogs that are exposed to the bacteria remain healthy and never become symptomatic. As a result, there are a large number of dogs that come up positive on our annual in-house screening test (4dx) that are asymptomatic. (The most common symptoms in dogs are lethargy and joint pain, as evidenced by sudden onset of lameness in one or more legs.) Not surprisingly, there is a lot of debate in the veterinary field, even among infectious disease specialists, regarding how to approach Lyme disease. We have posted two articles at the end of this section for your perusal, if you are interested in reading more about different sides of this debate.
At EEVMC, we recommend vaccinating for Lyme disease. The most recent research recommends an initial vaccination protocol that involves giving 3 vaccines as follows: The first two vaccines are given within 2-4 weeks of each other, and the third is given 6 months later. Subsequently, the Lyme vaccination is boosted annually. We currently employ this protocol at EEVMC.
Here at EEVMC, if your dog comes up positive for Lyme exposure on the annual Tick Disease and Heartworm test (4dx), we will discuss the next steps with you. Although we all differ a bit in our approach, it is important to remember that there is no right or wrong approach, as the articles below state. We do all agree that all dogs that come up positive be tested for excessive amounts of protein in their urine with a Urine Protein: Creatine ratio test (UPC). This is one of the parameters we measure to help guide us in our decisions.
Meryl Littman, VMD of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and Richard Goldstein, DVM formerly of the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine and now Medical Director at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, are two prominent infectious disease specialists that are central to the debate over differing approaches to Lyme disease in veterinary medicine. Below, we have posted two articles in which Littman and Goldstein debate different aspects of this issue.
Below we have posted an article in which Littman and Goldstein debate the use of antibiotics in the treatment of asymptomatic dogs.
Clinician’s Brief Article: Should We Treat Asymptomatic, Nonproteinuric Lyme Seropositive Dogs with Antibiotics?