Archive for Sunday, July 22, 1990

LYME DISEASE VACCINE AVAILABLE FOR DOGS

July 22, 1990

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Rover is getting a new vaccine.

Local veterinarians now can vaccinate dogs against Lyme disease, 15 years after the infectious disease was first discovered.

Dr. Kevin Kuenzi, a veterinarian at Bradley Veterinary Hospital, 935 E. 23rd, said his clinic got the vaccine on Wednesday.

The vaccine, he said, enables the dog to develop an immunity to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

The vaccine, called borrelia burgdorferi bacterin, was developed by Fort Dodge Laboratories, an animal vaccine and medicine facility at Fort Dodge, Iowa.

"We've been working on this for about four years now," said Dr. Mike Gregoricka, a clinical research assistant at Fort Dodge.

Gregoricka said the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the vaccine in June.

KUENZI SAID cost of the vaccine is expected to range from $15 to $20 per shot. Rabies and distemper vaccines cost $8 to $25 per shot, he said.

"I would recommend the vaccination for dogs that spend a lot of time out in the country or in woods," Kuenzi said.

Lyme disease, which was first reported in Connecticut in 1975, is transmitted by ticks. Since it was first discovered, the disease has been reported in humans and animals in 44 states, including Kansas.

In dogs, the disease can cause fever and lameness within weeks of infection. Antibiotics have been used in animals and in humans to treat the disease. If untreated, the disease can lead to joint damage and heart and neurological complications in humans.

Kuenzi said dog owners who want to vaccinate their pets would have to bring the pets in for two initial shots, and for yearly booster shots after the first year.

HE ALSO said the vaccine could help dogs that already have been infected.

W.W. Wempe, another local veterinarian, said he received the vaccine in early July.

Wempe, who has an office at 219 E. Ninth, said a dog vaccine for Lyme disease could mean that researchers are on the brink of developing a human vaccine.

"I'm sure they're probably working on it," he said.

Gregoricka said Fort Dodge Laboratories is not working on a vaccine for humans because the facility only works on animal-related medicines.

However, he speculated that several medical laboratories that work with human diseases were developing a vaccine.

"It would be too hard for me to speculate as to when a human vaccine could be available," he said.

GREGORICKA said, however, that Fort Scott is developing Lyme disease vaccines for cats, cattle, and horses. He would not speculate about when those vaccines could be on the market.

Cindy Wood, state epidemiologist at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said she did not know if a human vaccine would be available soon.

"I'm sure there are multiple efforts in progress right now toward that," Wood said.

She said 15 cases of Lyme disease in humans were reported in Kansas in 1989. The KDHE has received no reports of the disease this year, she said.

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