PR Newswire


Foundation fears record tick population in 2002

In-clinic test reveals exposure to tick-borne,
disease-causing bacterium.

Once a dog is infected, it is infected for life.


Minneapolis, MN (April 10, 2002) - With tick season here and reported cases of human Lyme disease in an upward spiral, the American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF) recommends pet owners to have their dogs screened annually for exposure to bacteria that cause the tick-borne disease. "A simple in-clinic test can reveal if a dog has been infected," says ALDF executive director David Weld. "And the earlier the detection, the more effective the treatment."

The number of human cases most recently reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2000 was 17,730, although the actual number of cases may be as much as 10 times the number reported. For the U.S. canine population, the threat is even greater. This debilitating syndrome, with recurring acute lameness, stiffness and pain, may occur in dogs at double the rate of humans.

"While a variety of signs may appear in an infected dog, pet lovers should watch for arthritis and lameness, sometimes with appetite loss and depression." says veterinarian Dr. Fred Metzger. "These signs can come and go, lasting for three to four days at a time and varying in intensity. Dogs also can develop heart disease, central nervous system disorders and fatal kidney disease."

Today, veterinarians can perform a simple blood test that screens dogs simultaneously for heartworm disease, Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, another tick-transmitted disease, Metzger explains. The test takes only eight minutes and provides an accurate result even if a dog has been vaccinated against Lyme disease.

"Many dog owners have their dogs routinely vaccinated for Lyme disease." says Dr. Metzger. "But vaccines aren't 100 percent effective. And if the dog was infected prior to vaccination, the vaccine cannot stop disease from occurring. Given the increasing risk of exposure and the seriousness of this tick-borne disease, he adds the only way to prevent Lyme disease remains through vaccination and tick control. "Since ticks carry other devastating diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis, it's important to keep dogs tick-free."


· B-ROLL: Ticks; Veterinarian inspecting for ticks and taking blood from dog for testing; In-clinic diagnostic test using Snap 3Dx; National Lyme Disease Risk Map; Additional footage of Sloan and dog.

· Soundbites: Dr. Jan Strother, Veterinarian, North Alabama Veterinary Clinic; Allison Sloane, Dog owner.



VIDEO PROVIDED BY: Idexx Corporation