Watch out for a spike in Lyme disease

Experts are saying that we are in store for a large spike in Lyme disease cases this spring. The surge is expected to begin in May and last until July.

Call the hospital today to talk with our medical staff about whether your pet should be vaccinated against Lyme disease. Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, and left untreated it can cause serious health problem for your pet.

So why the projected big increase this year? According to HealthDay News:

“The reason is that oak trees produced relatively few acorns this year, part of a normal cycle of boom and bust years for the acorn crop. But the small crop means trouble for the white-footed mouse, which feeds on the acorns.

“We had a boom in acorns, followed by a boom in mice. And now, on the heels of one of the smallest acorn crops we’ve ever seen, the mouse population is crashing,” Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., said in an institute news release.

“What does that have to do with Lyme disease?

“Mice are the preferred host for black-legged ticks, which transmit Lyme disease. Black-legged ticks need a bloodmeal at three different stages — as larvae, as nymphs and as adults. As of the spring, the larval ticks that fed on 2011′s large mouse population will be looking for their nymphal meal.

“This spring, there will be a lot of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of finding a white-footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals — like us,” Ostfeld added.

Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Here’s a link to the full article.

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