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Many Pets Live Unprotected Against Preventable Diseases, Elanco Study Finds

“Whether you live in rural areas, the suburbs or in the city, your dog could be exposed to diseases simply by engaging in their regular daily activities.”

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GREENFIELD, IN — A new survey released by Elanco finds many pets are insufficiently protected against common diseases like Lyme and leptospirosis. Once largely isolated to wooded regions, Lyme and lepto have escalated in urban and suburban areas due to expanding tick populations across the country.

Survey respondents indicated that they take their pet’s health and wellbeing seriously, according to a press release from Elanco. At the same time only 61% said their dogs are vaccinated for Lyme and less than half (47%) are vaccinated against lepto. Moreover, 33% and 69%, respectively, are unsure about the prevalence of Lyme or lepto in their area, highlighting the urgent need for broader awareness of risk exposure and proper prevention.

As COVID-19 restrictions lift around the country, owners and pets who spend more time outdoors, traveling and socializing with other pets will find themselves vulnerable to Lyme and lepto, according to the release.

Lyme disease in dogs can cause symptoms such as joint swelling, loss of appetite, and depression. Dogs that are at risk for Lyme disease are also at risk for leptospirosis – a serious and potentially fatal infection that carries symptoms such as vomiting, anorexia and lethargy. Dogs are at risk when they lap water out of a puddle or are exposed to contaminated mud and soil that infected animals have urinated in.

“Whether you live in rural areas, the suburbs or in the city, your dog could be exposed to diseases simply by engaging in their regular daily activities,” said Dr. Casey Locklear, Elanco’s U.S. medical lead for infectious disease prevention. “At Elanco, we believe vaccinated pets are the happiest pets. Pets and parents share a unique and loving bond and our goal is to make sure pets live longer, healthier lives.”

Vaccines are the best preventative measure for protecting pets against infections and the long-term, negative impacts of disease, according to the release, which noted: “Elanco offers innovative products to advance the health of animals, including a robust portfolio of pure, safe and effective vaccines.”

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The nationwide survey, conducted by Savanta, January 2022, consisted of 3,002 American adult respondents.

These new findings support a study published by Elanco in January 2022 that analyzed variability in non-core vaccination rates of over 3.5 million pets across the U.S. That report found wide variation in lifestyle vaccination rates, highlighting a need for veterinary practices to address gaps in patient protection.

The full Wag Stats survey results and more information about Lyme and lepto can be found at www.WagStats.com.

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