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L yme disease has been on the rise, in large part because of exploding tick populations. Lyme disease is zoonotic. That means both people and pets can be afflicted. According to the CDC, it’s the most common vector-borne disease in the US. As you may know, it is transmitted through tick bites, particularly that of the deer tick. A local vet offers some tips on protecting your pup and yourself from this dangerous disease in this article.
Our canine buddies love to nose through brush and long grasses. These are the sorts of places ticks love to hide! Another thing that will help is keeping up with your landscaping. Mow your yard regularly, and remove debris, such as piles of leaves or dead branches, where ticks may be lurking. Also, trim back any bushes you have around your home, and make sure they aren’t touching the walls.
Parasite control is very important. Keep your pet up to date with their regimen! There are many products to pick from, including topical drops, sprays, and shampoos. Ask your vet for recommendations. Never combine different products, or use separate ones back-to-back. That could expose your pooch to dangerous levels of pesticides!
Ticks don’t immediately spread disease. They need to be attached for at least 24 hours to spread the disease, so we recommend checking your pup daily. Look under his collar and between his furry little toes. If you find a tick, use tweezers or a tick removal tool to carefully extract it. Take a photo of it before discarding it: if Fido does show any signs of illness, it will help to know exactly what type of these little monsters bit him.
There are vaccines for Lyme disease that are approved for dogs. However, they aren’t always going to be recommended for every pup. Ask your vet for more information.
It’s also important to protect yourself! When spending time in fields or woods, wear long sleeves and tuck your jeans into your socks. Always check yourself and your pet thoroughly when you get home.
If Fido does contract Lyme, he probably won’t show any symptoms immediately. It could actually take a few months for you to notice anything wrong. Some red flags to look for include fever, limping/lameness, stiff or swollen joints, lethargy, and reduced appetite. It’s worth noting that many of these signs also occur with anaplasmosis. Call your vet right away if you notice anything wrong.
Please contact us, your veterinary clinic, anytime.