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