Lyme disease has definitely been on the rise in recent years, in large part because of exploding tick populations. Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease, which 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 Disease 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 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 these products, or use different ones back-to-back. That could expose your pooch to dangerous levels of pesticides!
Dogs love exploring, and they have a tendency to nose through brush and long grasses. These are the sorts of places that ticks love to hide! One thing that will help is keeping up with your landscaping. Mow your lawn regularly, and remove debris, such as piles of leaves or dead branches, where ticks may be lurking. Also, be sure to 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 Lyme disease. We recommend checking your pooch daily, and whenever you bring him in from a field or woodsy area. Look under his collar and between his furry little toes. If you do find a tick, use tweezers or a tick popper to carefully remove the beast. Take a picture 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.
The good news? There are vaccines available for Lyme disease. However, they aren’t always going to be recommended for every pup. You’d also need to keep up with boosters. 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 in Fort Myers, FL, anytime.