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Some veterinarians use a two-tiered test to diagnose Lyme in dogs. The SNAP test detects the presence and quantity of antibodies for a single protein, called C6.

In North America, this protein is found only in Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The amount of antibodies present determines if the dog needs treatment, which is usually recommended for about 10 percent of infected dogs.

This test is approved for humans, but it's newer and not as widely studied as the Western Blot tests currently used to diagnose Lyme in humans.

"In studies to-date, it's just about as good as traditional two-tiered testing, and it may be positive a bit earlier," says Dr. Paul Auwaerter, clinical director of the infectious diseases division at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. When the Infectious Disease Society of America next updates its Lyme guidelines, he thinks the C6 test will be endorsed.

There's currently a canine vaccine, offered by many Arkansas veterinarians, and from 1998 to 2002, there was a human vaccine as well. But the human vaccine was pulled by manufacturers following lawsuits seeking to link it with arthritis and autoimmune problems.

Another human vaccine, developed in New York and licensed to an Austrian company, Baxter Innovations, tested well in 2013 studies, but no drug company has picked it up.

-- Cheree Franco

ActiveStyle on 01/25/2016

Print Headline: Lyme test used on dogs promising for people

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