Lyme disease has been on the rise in recent years, in large part due to exploding tick populations. Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease, meaning 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 is primarily transmitted through tick bites. 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 now many products to choose from, including topical drops, sprays, collars, and shampoos. Ask your vet for recommendations. Never combine these products, or use different ones back-to-back. That could expose your furry friend 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 here is keeping up with your landscaping. Be sure to mow your yard regularly, and remove debris, such as piles of leaves or dead branches, where ticks may be hiding. Also, trim back any shrubs you have around your home, and make sure they aren’t touching the walls. Otherwise, you could be providing an easy access point.
Ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours to spread the Lyme disease. We recommend checking your pooch daily. Look under your pet’s collar and between those furry little toes. If you do find a tick, use tweezers or a tick popper to carefully remove it. It’s a good idea to 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. Make sure you got the whole thing!
It’s also important to protect yourself from these little beasts! 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.
We do have some good news. There are vaccines available for Lyme disease. However, these aren’t always going to be recommended for every dog. Ask your vet for more information.
If Fido does contract Lyme disease, he isn’t likely to show symptoms immediately. It could take a few months for you to notice anything wrong. Some red flags include fever, limping/lameness, lethargy, stiff or swollen joints, and reduced appetite. It’s worth noting that many of these signs also occur with other medical issues, including anaplasmosis. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything wrong.
Please contact us, your veterinary clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!