May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. And it comes at the perfect time of year. Spring sees an explosion in the population of insects and other wildlife, which includes ticks. These tiny pests are responsible for about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease every year according to the CDC. It is also just as common in our pets. Thousands of dogs are infected each year with diseases like Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and more.
Where are ticks found?
Ticks are pretty common and can found just about every where. While we mostly think about running into them in the deep woods, they can also be found in urban parks. They love to get in our pets fur and burrow in. You will often find them on the head, neck, feet and ear area. However, they can be found anywhere on your pet’s body.
I found a tick on my dog! What do I do?
It’s important to remove it as soon as possible. Make sure to do this as carefully as possible. Their heads rip off their body easily leaving the dangerous head still boring into the epidermis. A lot of people light a match and blow it out, then place the hot end on the tick to get them to back out of the skin. However there are easier and safer ways to get them out.
- Dab the tick with rubbing alcohol or ammonia
- Pluck the tick tweezers, making sure that you’ve gotten all of it, especially the biting head
- Make an appointment with your vet to have them evaluated as soon as you can
How does a pet get Lyme disease?
This is where tick prevention really comes into play. It’s important to often check your dog’s coat often and make sure they have prevention medicines. A tick must be attached to your dog for at least 48 hours in order to contract the disease.
What are some complications other than diseases?
- Tick Paralysis
- Blood loss
- Skin irritation or infection
How do I prevent bites?
Luckily there are some great topical medicines, dips, shampoos, and collars that we can use on our pets that can help keep ticks at bay. Ask your vet what is the best for your pet and the ticks in your area. Make sure to check your dog regularly for ticks, especially if you’ve been outdoors.
We all want to have a happy and safe summer, free of nasty bites and any issues that could be a result of them!