Lyme Disease in Dogs- Becoming A Serious Problem in NC

Tick-tock, Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Or with Spring fast approaching in Cabarrus County, it may be more appropriate to say Tick-tick, Tick-tick, Tick-tick. That certainly conjures up a bad visual!

tick

Historically, tick transmitted disease in our area has been most often limited to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). In fact for years, Cabarrus and Rowan Counties led the nation in human cases. RMSF is a disease that can affect dogs, but is difficult to diagnose. In recent years other tick transmitted diseases have begun to show up in Cabarrus County: Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Within the last 12 months, we at Foster Animal Hospital and Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons have begun screening for Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma on our routine annual lab panels. The results have been eye opening. (Unfortunately, this test is not yet available for RMSF)

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council or CAPC ( https://www.capcvet.org/ ), all three are on the rise in North Carolina. Lyme Disease in particular is one we are watching closely. Lyme has been a real nightmare for residents and pets in the northeast US for years. With the transient nature of people, especially those that travel with their pets, the incidence is moving southward. CAPC’s incidence map shows 51 of the 100 counties in NC, Cabarrus County included, rate as moderate for the prevalence of Lyme positive dogs in those counties. (https://www.capcvet.org/parasite-prevalence-maps/) Mind you, that is just the dogs that are tested. Many thousands of dogs in this state go untested every year.

lymeprev

Lyme incidence

Clinical signs in dogs can range from fever, lethargy, lameness, intermittent and/or shifting leg lameness, stiffness, pain, and loss of appetite. Many dogs do not show signs for quite some time. Many will respond well to antibiotics, others do not.

Fortunately, there are vaccines available to help prevent Lyme infection. We use the latest product that has the ability to eliminate the infection at the tick-bite site, as well as, internally. (https://www.zoetisus.com/products/dogs/vanguard-crlyme/) Many vaccines only protect at the bite site and are not as effective. This technology for this new vaccine is being researched for possible use in humans. What a breakthrough that would be!

I personally have vaccinated my 3 dogs for Lyme. None of them experienced any vaccine reaction, and now I can rest easy knowing they are protected against Lyme Disease. I still use tick preventatives for them even though I rarely see a tick on them. That is because RMSF, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma exist in NC too. Many dogs that test positive for Lyme or the other tick related disease have no tick history. (many people too report they never had a tick when they were diagnosed) The best 3 products we recommend are Vectra 3-D, a monthly topical, Bravecto, an oral chew that lasts 3 months and Simparica a monthly chewable that has great efficacy and is available on Vetsource, our online pharmacy. Vectra 3-D and Bravecto are available at both of our locations.

vectra 3d

BravectoK9

simparica_middle

vetsource1

By vaccinating my dogs and using an effective and safe tick preventative, I have greatly reduced the potential for any tick related disease for my dogs, myself, and my family. After all, our dogs are constant companions in our house and even sleep in our bed! I don’t want ticks in my bed or on me!

tick2

So please don’t hesitate to contact me or our offices for additional information or questions. We can schedule an appointment to give the Lyme vaccines if you wish. The initial series calls for 2 vaccines given 2-4 weeks apart. If your dog has been previously vaccinated with another type of vaccine, we still recommend the initial 2 vaccine protocol to assure better protection because of the new technology.

All the best,

Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027

704-786-0104

sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com

Bravecto Concerns

Bravecto is a flea and tick preventative that lasts 3 months. It was approved as an oral tablet for dogs in 2014. Recently there have been media reports of dogs that have been given Bravecto experiencing medical issues and even death. As a veterinarian, I take these issues seriously. I and my practices have dispensed thousands of doses of this product. I personally give it to my 3 dogs- as recently as last night.

Bravecto is approved by the FDA and many countries world-wide. The safety studies show it to be a very safe product. As a vet of 31 years, these products are much safer than the products available 10-30 years ago: such as organophosphates and the like.

Any adverse event a pet has should be reported to your vet and to the company that makes Bravecto- Merck Animal Health. The most common concern I have seen by my clients is vomiting and /or lethargy. (and that is not reported very often) If your pet has experienced this or any other issues, then Bravecto is probably not for you.

I advise my clients that the product is safe. The use of it is a choice. If you are not comfortable with it, then we can make other recommendations. There are numerous products to choose from.

The reality is, unless a necropsy is performed on the deceased animals, we will never know the full truth. Merck and the FDA will not allow a product that is unsafe to remain on the market. As of now and for the foreseeable future, Bravecto will be available.

I have copied and pasted a statement recently made by Merck Animal Health regarding Bravecto. I hope you find this blog and the Merck statement helpful. As always, feel free to contact me at 704-786-0104 or sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com with any concerns you may have.

I hope you have a great day!

 

 

Bravecto: Just The Facts

Many of us at Merck Animal Health are veterinarians and/or pet owners and do what we do because of our love for animals. Their health and wellbeing is our top priority. We know that veterinarians and pet owners look to us to provide accurate and balanced information about our products, which is why it is so important that we share the FACTS about Bravecto.
As you may be aware, fleas and ticks are not just a nuisance, but also pose animal and human health risks, as they can transmit disease (including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, bartonellosis and others).
That’s why it’s critical to protect pets from these parasites and keep them out of homes. Bravecto is the first and only treatment that has been shown to quickly and effectively kill fleas and multiple tick species for 12 weeks in a single dose. It also is effective for eight weeks against Amblyomma americanum ticks.
More than 13 million doses of Bravecto have been dispensed in 60 countries. We are pleased with the overwhelmingly positive responses we’ve had from veterinarians and pet owners from throughout the world about the benefits of Bravecto.
 We are confident in the safety of Bravecto.
 Prior to its first approval by a regulatory agency, the safety of Bravecto was established through comprehensive clinical research studies.
 As part of the product approval process, regulatory agencies throughout the world have reviewed the Bravecto research data and have deemed it safe for sale in their countries, when used according to the product label. Global safety surveillance of Bravecto use has provided additional compelling evidence of the safety of the product.
 In a well-controlled field study Bravecto was used concurrently with other medications, such as vaccines, anthelmintics, antibiotics and steroids. No adverse reactions were observed when Bravecto was used at the same time as other medications.1,2
 The rate of all adverse event reports is classified as RARE. The most common reported events are mild and transient gastrointestinal upset, which are noted on the product label.
 Merck Animal Health’s research scientists have thoroughly reviewed the safety data for Bravecto from more than 55 controlled clinical trials.
 Clinical research data and analysis of adverse events do not demonstrate a causal relationship between Bravecto and liver or kidney issues or cancer.
BRAVECTO: JUST THE FACTS
THE IMPORTANCE OF FLEA AND TICK PREVENTION
EXTENSIVE SAFETY RESEARCH

 As a responsible animal health company, we take every single report of a potential adverse event seriously.
 Whenever possible, we work with the pet owner and attending veterinarian to assemble as much clinical information as we can to try to help determine the cause of a pet’s health issue, and whether or not the product may have been involved.
 It is important to critically examine the facts relating to adverse events vs. anecdotes that are not substantiated by science and medical evidence. A report does not mean causation.
 We report findings to governing regulatory agencies around the world (based on a country’s respective laws and policies), so that they can make a fully informed, scientific assessment about the safety of the product.
 We do this so that accurate safety and efficacy information is available for veterinarians prescribing our products.
 We are Confident in the Safety of Bravecto.
For more information, please visit the Bravecto website. Always consult with your own veterinarian about the health and well-being of your pet, and when making a decision about flea and tick control products.
1 Bravecto Product Label. Data on file at Merck Animal Health and FDA. 2 Walther et al. Plasma pharmacokinetic profile of fluralaner (Bravecto™) and ivermectin following concurrent administration to dogs.

Merck Animal Health Companion Animal Technical Servicesand Pharmacovigilance Team

1-800-224-5318

8:30am-5:00pm EST

 www.Bravecto.com

All the best,

Stephen E Foster, DVM, CCRT

Foster Animal Hospital, P.A.

Foster Animal Clinic at Parkway Commons

Paws In Motion Canine Rehabilitation Center

730 Concord Parkway North

Concord, NC 28027

704-786-0104

sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com