May is officially Lyme Disease Awareness Month! Lyme disease, as you may know is a serious disease that can afflict both people and pets. It’s spread through ticks, which are unfortunately spreading throughout North America. Left untreated, Lyme disease can cause very serious—and potentially deadly—issues, such as kidney failure and heart trouble. A veterinarian offers some key prevention tips below.
Ticks lurk in long grasses, leaf litter, and piles of debris, like fallen branches. Mowing your yard regularly and keeping up with your landscaping will make your property less hospitable to these tiny monsters. Putting a three-foot gravel path around the edge of your property can also help. Ticks hate being exposed to sunlight, and will often turn back at these borders.
Check your canine pal for ticks daily, especially if he’s been in areas that may be infested with ticks. Pay close attention to Fido’s paws, legs, belly, and ‘armpits.’ You’ll also want to check beneath your canine pal’s collar and between his furry toes. If you find a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers or a tick remover.
Keeping up with Fido’s parasite control regimen is very important! There are now many different products available. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Many wild animals carry ticks, especially deer ticks. Keep your garbage secure, so it doesn’t attract rodents. If you have gardens or fruit trees, pick up fallen produce immediately. Also, use fencing to keep critters out of your yard and garden.
There is good news! There are vaccinations available for Lyme disease. However, these are not recommended for every pup. Ask your vet to tell you more.
It’s also important to take precautions for yourself. Always wear protective clothing when you go into fields or wooded areas. Remember to check yourself thoroughly when you get back inside.
Keep in mind that not all ticks carry Lyme disease. Also, ticks have to be attached to your pet for 24-48 hours to transmit the disease. If your pooch has been bitten, watch for signs of Lyme disease. These may not appear for a week or even longer. Some common signs are lack of appetite, lethargy, fever, and swollen joints. Fido may also act stiff and/or uncomfortable, and may limp or keep shifting his weight around. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these warning signs.
Please contact us, your vet hospital, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!