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Coyotes & Lyme Disease

email-coyote-153Kathie Fiveash, a Maine naturalist and author, commented about today’s post, and I felt the information she conveyed was so interesting that I wanted to be sure readers saw it.  She wrote about a study done on Cape Cod coyotes by Jonathan Way, who often live captures coyotes and releases them. According to Kathie, “Jonathan said that he takes blood from captured animals and they almost all test positive for Lyme, but are asymptomatic. As I remember, it, he theorized that wild canids have been living with Lyme ticks for eons, and have developed resistance to the disease, while dogs and humans do not have that evolved resistance.”

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18 responses

  1. Pat

    Very interesting — as was your earlier post today. I, too, am fascinated with some things that others may find less appealing.

    December 9, 2016 at 12:02 pm

  2. Beryl Barr-Sharrar

    Reminds me a little of Kismet! Foxy loxy was yesterday. xxoo


    December 9, 2016 at 12:25 pm

  3. I recognized the tick in your first post right away. Thank you for this follow-up that anticipated my questions. Now i want a transfusion of coyote blood after wrestling w Lyme for years.

    December 9, 2016 at 1:27 pm

  4. Alice Pratt

    Lyme Disease is so nasty! Our (my❤️) Elkhound was suddenly very ill, I think in 2001, when she was 7years, “could be 3 possibilities, 😢, she was “walking like on eggshells”, she spent the night at the Vet’s: Lyme, was walking the next morning, had a high temp. I had Lyme, 6 years ago, to the ER, so I could hopefully get quick results, why I was sick. my orange kitty was sick: maybe 6 years ago, an older Vet said he was the first cat he’d diagnosed w/ Lyme, then kitty’s brother was sick, so I knew that was Lyme as well. Good part: my pup lived to be 17 y & 1 1/2 months!

    December 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm


    most dogs who also test positively for lyme are asymptomatic a few develope a nephritic syndrome berger

    December 9, 2016 at 2:05 pm

  6. Kathryn

    Just checked on-line and found out that cats rarely get Lyme Disease – fyi.

    December 9, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    • Alice Pratt

      But both of mine did, at an excellent Vet in Hanover, MA. Blood tests revealed extremely low WBC’s, fevers, “hiding”, They were both put on Doxy, that’s why the “older vet” said it was the first case he had treated in a cat….and he & his wife had both had Lyme.

      December 9, 2016 at 7:08 pm

  7. Jackie Boegel

    I am curious– how would one know a wild animal is asymptomatic?

    December 9, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    • I was wondering that myself, Jackie. Can’t provide you with an answer, I’m afraid.

      December 10, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    • Kathie Fiveash

      They test positive for Lyme but have no noticeable symptoms. Way could both test and observe captured animals. I don’t think there would be any way to determine if a wild animal you could not test has asymptomatic Lyme or not.

      December 11, 2016 at 9:44 am

  8. Interesting!

    December 9, 2016 at 9:33 pm

  9. Mary Offutt

    Actually, dogs do have a great deal of resistance to Lyme. My dog tested positive and yet was completely asymptomatic. His vet said that this was the case with most dog cases of Lyme. Unless you are that coyote, you really would not know if that coyote is in fact asymptomatic.

    December 10, 2016 at 7:54 am

  10. Bill On The Hill...

    Beautiful shot of the coyote Mary…
    Still open season on them here in Vermont last I recall…
    A most formidable animal to hunt btw, most hunters will tell you as they are cunning & stealthy animals…
    Another great post too!

    December 10, 2016 at 8:15 am

  11. BR

    Hi Mary, While the coyotes and other small mammals might be asymptomatic, the ticks that gorge on them and become carriers for Tick Borne Diseases go on to infect other animals including pets and ourselves. That this tick was still alive is testament to their ability to survive and be a problem for humans all year long. I have had lyme for over 20 years, and it is important for everyone to realize that tick repelling is necessary all year round, being aware of symptoms is equally important because sometimes the nymphs are the size of cracked pepper! Even in the NEK, there are hotbeds of deer tick populations. I know of one in Waterford where a fried lives and we can’t walk outside the lawn and not pick up ticks.

    I hope you are mindful when you are out and take precautions. from URI has good information and has an excellent symptom list in their “green booklet”.

    For a long time, few ticks were infected, but the incidence of one or several infections is growing. This year an estimated 7,000 people IN VERMONT will be infected, with only 710 testing positive/bulls eye rash as require by the CDC for reporting. The CDC allows that number to be 10 times higher of people who do not meet that narrow reporting guideline.

    Thank you for your articles. I enjoy them. Reading a book is difficult for me, but I bought your book for my wonderful daughter with whom I live, and she reads to me sometimes. We love being in nature and knowing about it.

    Best and good health to you. Bern Rose

    December 12, 2016 at 9:22 am

    • Hi Bern,
      I cannot imagine having to live with Lyme for one year, much less 20. I am on the ground photographing so much that I cannot figure a way to avoid them, though I do wear protective clothing. I still extract several a summer that have bitten me. I will go to your sites and see if I can glean more preventative information. Seems like a vaccine for people should be available if they can make one for dogs (?). Again, I am so sorry you have had to live with the disease for so long. I see from your email address that you must be a dulcimer player. I hope you have not been robbed of that joy. Thank you for sharing this valuable information with both myself and my readers. Mary

      December 12, 2016 at 10:03 am

  12. LGl

    my dog has suffered and rebounded from Lyme in the past…and last weekend he became very lame and sluggish. A new tick disease to us..Ehrlichiosis, most likely transmitted by the brown dog tick. I wonder how coyote
    s fair with that one? )=

    January 24, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    • I know coyotes get Ehrlichiosis, but not sure to what degree it has affected the population.

      January 24, 2019 at 4:09 pm

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