I realize I may have brought this up before but it's important enough that I need to say it again.
This part of the US - Northeast PA - has one of THE highest - competing closely with our neighbor, NJ - incidences of Lyme disease. Don't believe me? Check out the CDC Lyme Disease Data
We have a large deer population. We have a lot of ticks that carry Lyme. Many of us live near or in the woods or at least travel to and play in them with our pets.
The vaccination against Lyme disease in dogs is about 85% effective AND combining that WITH good, veterinary recommended topical tick repellent products, like Vectra, is very good way to protect your pet.
Dogs that are vaccinated against Lyme may still come up positive on the in house test we run (this is NOT affected by being vaccinated) and we still treat every positive dog. In some practices, they'll send blood out and run another, antibody level test, called a C6. Depending on that number they may or may not treat. The point is that you may get a dog with an "above" normal number. No problem.
The vaccinated dogs are generally either asymptomatic or mildly affected.
The unvaccinated group are either acutely down or like the 2...yes TWO..cases I had today - are in irreversible kidney failure. Yes, not fixable. Yes, euthanize is the nicest thing to do.
They are sick from the buildup of toxins the bloodstream leading to gastric ulcers, nausea and vomiting. They often don't eat and lose weight. Intravenous fluids and antibiotics MAY help for a few days. Then, when they are off fluids, they crash again.
In my 14 years of experience and in talking with other practitioners, dogs with Lyme nephritis do not recover.
So please, if you live in a high Lyme area - vaccinate. The initial vaccination is a series of 2, followed by yearly vaccinations. You are looking at very little cost for potentially the LIFE of your pet. The vaccine is in the $22-30 range - depending on your vet, location, etc. But not a LOT.
I had to deliver sad news to two clients today and I feel bad for them and the dogs - one 5 old, the other 4 years old. Last year, we lost a 5 year old Rottie and a 3 year old Scottish Terrier to this - again nearly 100% preventable.