You may have heard that Lyme disease has been on the rise recently. This is in large part because of rising tick populations. Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease, which means that it can afflict both people and pets. According to the CDC, Lyme is the most commonly-reported vector-borne disease in the USA. As you may know, it is transmitted through tick bites, particularly the deer tick. A local veterinarian offers some tips on protecting your dog and yourself from this disease in this article.
Keeping up with your dog’s parasite control regime is very important. There are many products to choose from, including oral medications, topical drops, sprays, and shampoos. Ask your vet for recommendations. Never combine multiple products, or use different ones back-to-back. That could expose your canine pal to dangerous levels of pesticides!
Fido loves to nose through brush and long grasses. These are the sorts of places ticks love to hide! One thing that will help is keeping up with your landscaping. Mowing your yard regularly, and removing debris, such as piles of leaves or dead branches, where ticks may be lurking will both help. Also, cut back any shrubs or bushes you have around your home, and make sure they aren’t touching the walls.
There are vaccines available for Lyme disease. However, they aren’t always going to be recommended for every pup. Ask your vet for more information.
Ticks must be attached for at least 24 hours to spread disease. We recommend checking your pooch daily. Look under Fido’s collar and between his furry little toes. Don’t forget to work in some ear scritches as you do this! If you find a tick, use tweezers or a tick popper to carefully remove the little beast. Take a photo of it before discarding it: if your pet does show any signs of illness, it will help to know exactly what type of these tiny monsters bit him.
It’s also important to protect yourself from ticks. If you’re headed out to fields or woods, wear long sleeves. tuck your jeans into your socks, and check yourself thoroughly when you get home.
If Fido does contract Lyme, he won’t show symptoms immediately. It could actually take a few months for you to notice anything is wrong. Some red flags to watch for include fever, limping/lameness, stiff or swollen joints, lethargy, and reduced appetite. It’s also worth noting that many of these signs also occur with anaplasmosis, another tick-borne disease. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything wrong.
Please contact us, your veterinary clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!