Protecting Your Pet is Protecting Yourself from Lyme disease


Ticks hitch rides on family pets that run freely through piles of leaves, areas of dense vegetation, and wooded areas. Family pets then carry ticks into the home, so pets should be checked for ticks before entering. Otherwise, ticks can fall off without biting the pet and possibly attach to and bite people inside the house.

Several studies have proven that the Lyme-causing spirochete that is transmitted to man can infect the American dog tick, among others. Therefore, it is prudent to be on the lookout for all ticks – large as well as small.

Veterinarians can prescribe products for your pets that can help greatly by killing the ticks without injuring your dogs or cats. There is a liquid, for example, that works well if it is applied between your pet’s shoulder blades on a monthly basis. Mark your calendars.

Lyme disease can make dogs lame and can even give them fatal kidney disease if the animal is not treated promptly. Veterinarians can successfully treat pets with Lyme disease, but it is up to the caring owner to make the appointment with the veterinarian if the pet shows symptoms.

The important issue is that not every tick carries the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. And, even if the tick is infected, it may not transfer the bacteria. Time is crucial. The longer the tick is attached, the greater the risk.

Since dense vegetation is the perfect micro-environment for ticks, recognizing and avoiding the habitat of wild rodents can significantly reduce the risk of contracting a tick borne illness.

You may wonder why. According to a recent three-year study conducted in New Jersey by doctors at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and led by Dr. Steven E. Schutzer, the single most significant carrier of Lyme disease is the white-footed mouse. The favorite habitat of the “deer” tick is actually the coats of mice. Where mice congregate, so will the ticks. Mice need dense ground cover to feel secure. Therefore, in areas of high suitability for mice (those with so much covering that the vegetation rises above the ankles and one cannot see the bare ground) an average of 108.8 ticks was discovered. In areas marked by less vegetation and more open ground, the number of ticks dropped significantly to an average of 4.6 ticks per 100-square-foot sector.

Ticks can be found on at least 49 bird species and at least 30 species of mammals, including chipmunks, grey squirrels, voles, foxes, rabbits, opossums, and even certain species of reptiles. Although ticks feed harmlessly on many hosts, only the mice can transmit the Lyme disease bacteria to ticks. This is why it is important for pets to stay out of mouse territory, and especially away from piles of raked leaves.

Here Are 5 Simple Tips To Help Protect Your Pet

  1. Walk your dog in the center of trails to avoid overhanging brush.
  2. Keep your dog and cat from roaming into brushy areas and leaf piles.
  3. Consult your verterinarian about the appropriate tick protection for your pet.
  4. Use flea and tick shampoo frequently.
  5. Perform a tick check when your pet returns from the outdoors. Prompt and appropriate tick removal will prevent ticks from falling off your pet and into your home.

Vaccines

A vaccine that may protect dogs from Lyme disease is available although you should consult your veterinarian about it's use.