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DOG DISEASES

 

Is your dog acting aggressive or “weird” after Lyme vaccine? Maybe you better test him for Lyme Disease… Right! Give him a pencil and scorecard!

 

Your dog is statistically more likely to have a vaccine reaction than the disease so the Lyme Disease Test smells-unless canine Lyme disease vaccine doesn’t work?

 

 

LYME DISEASE TEST?

by Barbara J. Andrews, Publisher April 2012, Updated June 2016

 

An absolute dearth of statistics on canine Lyme disease leads to the conclusion that Lyme vaccine and the new Lyme Disease Test is very marketable.

 

Is your dog acting aggressive or “weird” after Lyme vaccine?  Maybe you better test him for Lyme Disease… give him a pencil and scorecard!In the absence of knowledge, snake oil salesmen line the streets.  Such is the case with Lyme disease vaccine and now, a new Lyme disease test.  Testing dogs is the new “sell” for the uniformed.

 

A white paper (press release) extolling the virtues of the new Lyme Disease test has spread like a virus across the internet. Notably missing however were any statistics on the number of dogs actually diagnosed with Lyme Disease. {1}

 

As a journalist trained to expect facts, references, citations, I read the release with interest and went to IDEXX Laboratories, the company that will profit from running the new Lyme disease tests. Whoops. The only way to contact them appears to be through a form which collects my personal and private information. Such lists are categorized into appropriate data lists and “shared”, an acronym for "sold to marketing companies." Apparently IDEXX will rely on Cornell and the veterinary network to market their product and reject any type of promotion they can’t control. Fair enough.

 

A PDF from Cornell Veterinary University provides information on the Lyme Disease Test. It explains the method by which the test works but I could find absolutely no substantiation or recommendation for how or why the average dog should be tested. What was most definitive however, is being left with the feeling that every dog, inside or out, back yard or penthouse, urban or rural, should be tested for Lyme Disease! {2}

 

Nearly two hours of research on Canine Lyme Disease statistics and rate of infection led to a particularly interesting article in TheDogPress/Plum Island {3} which delves into the research and development of Lyme Disease just off the coast of Lyme CT.

 

Canine Lyme Disease Statistics:

We could find no CDC or government study on the canine Lyme disease infection rate. I know it exists and I am a good researcher but the first ten Google results drew a blank. The closest we could come to Lyme Disease statistics was a study done by a college student who concluded that CT, DE, and to some degree, areas adjacent to the western Great Lakes are the most affected areas with human infections ranging upwards of 25 cases per 1000 people. GA, MS, and those states furthest from the original infection reported less than 1% per 1,000 people.

 

I also found dozens of time-wasting search engine returns such as this one on Petdogsoncall: “Ticking Time Bomb---Is Lyme Disease Increasing in Dogs Too? ... number of infected dogs may be many times higher than what confirmed statistics indicate...” Well that was just a catcher site for services, not one single statistic. An annoying waste of time.

 

I thought sure I was getting closer when we spotted this announcement “Lyme disease has surpassed AIDS as one of the fastest growing infectious epidemics …” but as I waited for the site to open, I realized that was absolutely impossible. Sure enough, not one citation to back up that claim.

 

Another site proclaimed “statistics” show Lyme Disease steadily increasing” in Central VA with “more than 1200 cases” but that too was a blind alley. No source for the 1200 cases and in fact, it seems to have been based on one local veterinarian who treated “several dogs for Lyme disease…” Some sites will do anything for a well ranked search engine return! Apparently they missed the cover-up on Lyme Disease vaccine and aggression.

 

The CDC On Lyme Disease:

Okay, so the last word on all things disease-related is of course, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. Here’s what we gleaned from that site. “Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the U.S.” That narrows it down as most contagious diseases are airborne, as in viruses. We learned “In 2009 (Lyme disease) was the 5th most common Nationally Notifiable disease.” The caveat is “notifiable” so that excludes 99% of viral infections including influenza, canine, bird, Asian, etc. That was interesting but opening another can of worms is best left for some other time.

 

We learned that among humans, there were approximately 320,000 Lyme disease cases from 1996 through 2010, which makes sense because another table shows 381,552 cases from 1980 through 02-07-10. The CDC states “In 2010, 94% of Lyme disease cases were reported from 12 states” and at the top of the list is Connecticut and Delaware, as expected. Other NE states topped off the list of Lyme disease infections with and significantly, at least to me, the further away from Plum Island Research Center a state was, the fewer cases of Lyme Disease were reported.

 

We could find NO LYME DISEASE statistics for dogs. Zip. Zero. This would lead almost anyone to conclude that there are none, well, except perhaps IDEXX Laboratories?

 

Meet the Editor and Author Barbara J. "BJ" AndrewsSo what then is the basis for Lyme disease vaccine? If Lyme disease vaccine is effective, and estimates are that 80% of pets receive it in their puppy shots, and we know vaccination immunity last far longer than the vaccine companies would have us believe, why do we need a new test for Lyme disease?

 

My personal conclusion is this: the new Lyme disease test is probably accurate but is little more than sales hype for a disease that in 2012 is so rare in the canine population as to be statistically unimportant and immeasurable.

 

{1} Diagnostic Testing For Lyme Disease, 2004 white paper from Idexx Laboratories

{2} Lyme Disease Multi-plex Testing, Cornell Veterinary University, 2011

{3} Plum Island Lyme Disease Gov'ment biological research history, doctor states under-diagnosed

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