Diagnostic tests based on the detection of DNA from harmful organisms in clinical samples have revolutionized veterinary medicine in the last decades. Currently, diagnostic panels for several vector-borne organisms are available through universities and private labs in the USA and abroad. However, the vast majority of results from sick dogs are negative, which frustrates veterinarians and dog owners trying to reach a definitive diagnosis.
Tick-borne diseases are found in all 50 states of the United States and are the most common vector-borne disease diagnosed in people in the US. The predominant disease is Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and related species (sensu lato). Other important canine tick-borne diseases include those caused by Anaplasma platys, Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Anaplasmosis), Babesia canis, Babesia conradea and Babesia gibsonii (Babesiosis), and Ehrlichia canis, Ehrlichia chaffiensis and Ehrlichia ewingii (Ehrlichiosis).
Lyme disease (or Borreliosis) is a bacterial disease of dogs and humans that is transmitted by tick bites. In people, Lyme is the most common tick-transmitted disease in the US, with over 25,000 cases in 2014.