Lyme disease has been on the rise in recent years, in large part because of exploding tick populations. Lyme disease is zoonotic, which means that both people and pets can be afflicted. According to the CDC, it’s the most commonly-reported vector-borne disease in the US. As you may know, it is transmitted through tick bites, particularly the deer tick. A local vet offers some tips on protecting your pup and yourself from this disease below.
Keeping up with Fido’s parasite control regime is very important. There are many products to choose from, including topical drops, sprays, and shampoos. Ask your vet for recommendations. Never combine products, or use different ones back-to-back. That could expose your pooch to dangerous levels of pesticides!
Dogs love 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. Mow your yard regularly, and remove debris, such as piles of leaves or dead branches, where ticks may be lurking. Also, trim back any shrubs you have around your home,and make sure they aren’t touching the walls.
Ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours to spread the disease, so we recommend checking your pooch 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 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 available for Lyme disease. 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! If you’re headed out to fields or woods, wear long sleeves and tuck your jeans into your socks. Check yourself thoroughly when you get home.
If Fido does contract Lyme, he isn’t likely to show symptoms immediately. It could actually take a few months for you to notice anything wrong. Some red flags 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 immediately if you notice anything wrong.
Please contact us, your veterinary clinic, anytime.