Preventing Lyme Disease
The spring and summer months often bring dangerous ticks to certain areas of the United States. The Northeast coast has the largest problem with this menacing insect. Some ticks can be infected with Lyme disease, which can be transmitted to both human and animal. April is Prevent Lyme in Dogs Month, and The Lyme Disease Foundation does all that it can to spread awareness about the risks of ticks. Luckily, there are some precautions that you can take to avoid contracting this potentially awful disease.
The Facts about Lyme Disease
Lyme disease doesn’t always present many symptoms, and it’s good to be aware of the effects of the disease in order to diagnose it. In 2007, the CDC reported over 21,000 cases of Lyme disease. It’s something that affects every state but is most prevalent in the Northeast. Regional vets report that about 40 percent of dogs that are treated test positive for Lyme disease. While some animals never present symptoms, others are very lethargic, have fevers and joint pain, and lose their appetites. It’s important to diagnose and treat this disease because when left untreated, some dogs will suffer from kidney damage. It’s usually easy to treat the disease with antibiotics when caught early on, and dogs usually fully recover.
Prevention of Lyme Disease
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, but the problem is that you don’t know which do and which don’t. The best thing to do is to avoid dense brush and long grass and do tick checks when coming in from outside. Ticks live in damp and thick grass and in the woods. If you’re hiking on trails or have brush piles, wood piles, or long grass in your yard; these are all potential places for ticks to hide. Keep your grass cut short and wear long pants and long sleeves when going into the woods.
There is a Lyme disease vaccine as well as ways to naturally control fleas and ticks in the forms of spray, collars, and topical medicines. Talk to your vet about what will work best for both of you. If you live in a high risk area, make sure to take any precaution that you can to prevent ticks on yourself and on your dog. If you find a tick on your dog, be sure to know the proper method to completely remove and dispose of the tick.