BARNEVELD, NY-- A local veterinarian is trying to raise awareness about an increase in Lyme disease in dogs in the region, including a rare deadly complication of the disease called Lyme Nephritis.
"Over the past 10 years I would say Lyme disease has increased immensely mainly because of the tick population," said Dr. Diana Ostrander, a veterinarian at Beaver Meadow Veterinary Clinic in Barneveld. "But people don't realize is that it's actually based upon the rodent population not as much as the deer, but deer do carry a big role in the Lyme disease population."
According to Companion Animal Parasite Council, in 2013 there were 283 cases of Lyme disease in Oneida County. Last year that increased to more than 15,000 which is treatable. But there's also a complication of Lyme disease called Lyme Nephritis and its fatal.
"It's Lyme positive, it has kidney damage, it has protein in it's urine and there's things to look for that the veterinarian can at least be pretty sure that it's not a Lyme Nephritis," she said. "Once I see that then it's very kind of heartbreaking because you kind a know this is only going to end up bad with in the next couple weeks."
Ostrander said raising awareness about the disease with pet owners is key in prevention.
"Educating our clients on everything that we can do, vaccinating, getting them on year-round protection, testing them every year," she said. "Making sure that again, we're educating them enough so that they understand the importance of it and that really really increase in level that we're seeing around here."
Ostrander added that oral products and collars are the best method to keeps ticks away.