Dogs and Cats and Lyme
Pets contract Lyme disease the same way that humans do - getting bitten by an infected tick. Dogs can often control the infection without getting ill (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078009/). Cats have been traditionally thought to be resistant to illness when infected but more recent work suggests that cats too can be affected.
In addition to the importance of understanding the impact of Lyme on the health of pets, dogs and cats have been used as sentinels of disease in humans. Because dogs live in human communities and households and mount a strong immune response to Borrelia infection that is detectable with a readily available commercial C6 ELISA test, dogs have been Using the dogs to predict the Lyme disease risk to humans has been done extensively in the United States and also in Europe, Asia and in Canada.
We have recently completed a canine seroprevalence study in New Brunswick, Canada, and are starting one on Prince Edward Island, with the assistance of veterinarians an the public on the Island.
We are also conducting a study on differentiating reinfection from persistent infection in dogs.