Did you know that Lyme disease has been on the rise in recent years? This is in large part because of exploding tick populations. Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease. This means that both people and pets can be afflicted. According to the CDC, it’s actually the most commonly-reported vector-borne disease in the US. As you may know, Lyme spreads through tick bites, particularly that of the deer tick. A local veterinarian offers some advice on protecting your pup and yourself from this disease below.
Keeping up with your canine friend’s parasite control regime is very important. There are many different products to choose from, such as oral medications, topical drops, sprays, and shampoos. Ask your vet for specific recommendations. Never combine different products, or use different ones back-to-back. That could expose your pooch to dangerous levels of pesticides!
Our furry buddies love to nose through brush and long grasses. These are the exact sorts of places ticks love to hide! One thing that will help control ticks in your yard is keeping up with your landscaping. Mow your yard regularly, and remove debris, such as piles of branches or dead leaves. Ticks like to lurk in these things. Also, trim back any shrubs you have around your home,and make sure they aren’t touching the walls.
Ticks have 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 popper to carefully remove it. Take a picture of it before discarding it: if Fido does show any signs of illness, it will help to know exactly which one of these little monsters bit him.
There are doggy vaccines available that can protect Fido from Lyme disease. However, they aren’t always going to be recommended for every pup. Ask your veterinarian for more information.
It’s important to protect yourself from ticks as well! If you’re headed out to fields or woods, wear long sleeves and tuck your jeans into your socks. Be sure to 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 that anything is wrong. Some red flags include fever, limping/lameness, stiff or swollen joints, lethargy, and/or 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.