Lyme borreliosis is a tick-transmitted inflammatory disease induced by spirochetes. In dogs the infection is common in the moderate climate regions of the Northern Hemisphere; prevalence of infection in dogs may range regionally as high as 85%, but generally is approximately 3 to 10%.
The infection is zoonotic and Lyme disease in humans is the most important reported vector-borne disease in Europe and the USA. The human disease was first identified in the North-Eastern part of the USA in the town Lyme during the 1970s, but retrospective analysis revealed its presence since the late 19th century in Europe and the US.
At least three closely interrelated elements must be present in nature to spread Lyme borreliosis: (1) the Lyme-disease-causing bacteria of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex (s.l.), (2) Ixodes ticks as transmitting vectors for the pathogens, and (3) mammals (e.g. mice and deer) that provide a blood meal for the ticks through their various life stages.
Although a high proportion of dogs are positive for specific antibodies in endemic areas, not all infected animals develop clinical signs. Therefore, diagnosis should be based on both clinical signs and serologic testing. Therapy consists of antibiotic treatment for four weeks, and vaccines are available for the USA and other countries.