Increasing cases of Lyme disease found in dogs in Hudson

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Lyme disease surfaces in Hudson dogs
WATCH: Several cases of Lyme disease have been discovered in dogs in Hudson, just west of the island of Montreal. Global's Felicia Parrillo finds out if that means residents in the area need to be on the alert – May 17, 2017

Spring has sprung, but experts are warning there can be a downside to the good weather  – the growing number of ticks.

At Hudson’s Animal Hospital, they’ve recently noticed an increase of Lyme disease cases in dogs.

READ MORE: Climate change cited as probable factor for rising cases of Lyme disease in Canada

Dr. Manon Flynn told Global News they have been testing dogs for the disease for the last eight years.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to animals or humans through infected ticks.

She said every year, they see about four or five cases, but this time around, three dogs have already tested positive.

“Here, we’re in the country and there are lots of risk with shrubs, bushes, migrating birds also bring in ticks,” said Flynn.

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“So, we’re seeing more and more every year. It’s exponential.”

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READ MORE: Authorities warn of more Lyme disease in Montérégie

Dog owner Rob Eccles said he’s worried about the spike in the disease.

“Our dog is outside pretty much all day, so ya we’re concerned on how to prevent it,” he said.

If more dogs are being infected, that means humans could also catch the bacteria.

READ MORE: Experts warn Lyme disease on the rise in Quebec

Quebec public health officials released data on the presence of ticks in 2015, finding that 160 human cases of Lyme were reported in the province, compared to only 32 cases in 2011.

To help track ticks , Bishop’s University Biology Professor Dr. Jade Savage recently launched a website.

It encourages the public to monitor the tick population by submitting photos of ticks they encounter so they can be identified by a professional.

Flynn warns that Lyme disease in dogs can be tough to notice, but unlike for humans, there is a exam vets can perform to know if the animal has been infected.

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“We do have a good test, at least for animals, it’s pretty accurate,” said Flynn.

“If there’s an exposure or if there’s a clinical sign, we do the test and it’s a yes or a no. I don’t think we’re that lucky on the human side.”

The hospital is advising dog owners to check their dog for ticks daily, and to remove it immediately if one is found.

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