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Research Study Begins: Prevalence of Tick-borne Disease and Heartworm Disease in Dogs in San Pedro

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Early this month we spent a couple of afternoons out in the Escalante neighborhood collecting samples for a study in conjunction with Dr. Lappin from Colorado State University.

Twenty blood samples were collected from island dogs without a history of consistent flea and tick control.  In return for allowing us to draw blood on their pets, each animal was treated with a topical flea control product free of charge (Advantix) supplied by Dr. Lappin’s laboratory in Colorado.

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The kids were out of school and immediately began assisting us by setting up a table in front of their house and bringing us pets from the neighborhood!

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Some of our patients were a little reluctant, but after a while they realized we were ok.

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Samples were taken back to San Pedro Animal Hospital where they were immediately processed.

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Results were as follows:

Of the twenty dogs sampled eleven of them were positive for antibodies to Ehrlichia, the tick-borne bacteria that causes “tick fever”.  This means that these eleven dogs had been exposed and may still be carrying the disease.

Of the twenty dogs sampled 7 were positive for heartworm disease.

Results were reported to the pet-owners and recommendations were made for treatment.

Dr. Laurie transported the samples back to the U.S. where they will be further analyzed at Colorado State.

These results will be used to design a more elaborate study planned for this fall, which will focus on new methods of tick control and their effect on the transmission of tick-borne disease.

More results to follow!  Until then make sure to keep your pets free of fleas and ticks as much as possible, and give them their heartworm prevention monthly.  In addition we recommend obtaining a heartworm test for your dog every year.

If you have any questions feel free to stop by San Pedro Animal Hospital or give us a call at 610-DOGS (3647)










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