In this issue you will find: 

Emerging: A New Lyme Organism

Spiffing up the place

One Health – Canine Clinical Trials

Emerging: A New Lyme Organism

Spring is definitely springing and the ticks are out in force.

We all know that Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) and is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. However, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have discovered a closely related bacteria that causes similar symptoms. The new bacterium is called Borrelia mayonii.

It was detected during routine genetic testing of patient blood samples. It appeared in less than 1% of the over 9000 samples tested. It is unclear if B. mayonii is a genetic mutation or if it is hosted in a species that humans are just coming into greater contact with.

The symptoms seen in humans are similar but have some differences. Vomiting and nausea were seen in addition to the headaches, fever, rash and neck pain seen with Borrelia burgdorferi. Additionally, the rash was not the typical red bull's eye, rather it was more diffuse or spotty. Other more severe symptoms were also seen in people. We do not yet know about different symptoms seen in animals. Click here for more information.

There is not yet information available if this bacteria is detected by our veterinary tests. However, this new bacterium is treated with the same antibiotics as Borrelia burgdorferi.

The best treatment remains prevention. Check yourself and your pets frequently for ticks, apply a topical tick preventative like Frontline ® Plus or use an oral product like NexGardTM. We have both of these products in stock.

Spiffing up the Clinic

If you have been to the clinic in the past couple of weeks you have likely noticed a few minor changes. A little new paint has gone on the walls. Dr. Otto has been busy reupholstering chairs. And things have been in a little disarray during some deep cleaning.

All of this has been in preparation for our AAHA reaccreditation. It is just a good time to take a look at everything and ask what we can do better. After all, every building needs a little TLC once in a while.

One Health – Canine Clinical Trials
Did you know that about 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer every year? Or that the American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 1.7 million new cases of cancer in humans this year? Or that 60% of Golden Retrievers will die of cancer? Or that only 11% of promising cancer drugs are safe and effective in people. These are startling statistics.
But out of this information, opportunities have arisen. Dogs have a shorter life cycle than people and their cancers tend to progress, go into remission, and recur more quickly than in people. Human clinical trial results can take years. While dogs clinical trials are much faster. The down side is that dogs do not have the same frequency of certain cancers as humans. Some are quite infrequent in dogs.
However, there are many up sides to using dogs as clinical models over mice, the most commonly used animal. Research mice live in a relatively sterile environment, while dogs live in our houses. Dogs are exposed to many of the same things we are including pollution, the sun, toxins in our homes and many infectious agents. Dog breeds have a more uniform genetic code as they are the result of line breeding for specific traits. This means that it is easier to find genetic mutations that potentially lead to cancer. Humans tend to be a very out-bred group with large amounts of genetic diversity. So finding genes that cause cancer can be difficult without having an idea of what to look for.
Tne positive example of using dogs as a clinical model is the melanoma vaccine. This was first used in dogs and then adapted for humans. Both species will benefit from using this research model.
I have not seen specifics, but it is reported that useful information has already been learned from a relatively newly started lifetime study on Golden Retrievers.
We will be hearing more about One Health.