Lyme Disease Prevention Month

It’s warming up and it’s time to get back to our favorite outdoor activities with our loved ones, naturally, this includes the four-legged ones as well. All of the foliage is starting is coming back making nature hikes all the more interesting. The grass is growing faster than we can cut it most weeks, but the dogs and some cats love to roll around in it or investigate. This is also the time of year we start seeing more reports of ticks. Now it goes without saying that the more outdoor exposure you and your pets have, the more likely you will come across a tick or two but, sometimes it only takes one. During Lyme Disease Prevention Month our main goal is to educate pet parents on Lyme Disease, where it comes from, and steps you can take as preventatives.

As with most things, prevention is usually the best defense and usually easier than treatment.

  1. Use Flea and Tick Preventatives: A lot of people believe that ticks die during the colder portion of the year. The truth of it is that it must drop below 10°F before ticks start dying. This (for a lot of us) makes Lyme disease a year-round threat.
  2. Inspect Your Pets After Walks Through Woods and Grassy Areas: Vigilance is our next best tool. It is important even on preventatives to check your pets after time outdoors. Some of the most popular hangouts for ticks are; between the toes, ears, around the eyes, on the neck under or around the collar, base of the tail, and the armpits.
  3. Remove the Tick ASAP: It is important to remove the tick as soon as possible since they do not begin transmitting any possible disease immediately. The CDC suggests that if you find and remove the tick within the first 24 hours, your chances of contracting anything are very low. It is also important to know how and what tool to use to remove a tick. To remove a tick, you want to grasp as close to the skin as possible. Because of this, fine point tweezers are generally the tool of choice. It is important to note that ticks don’t really have “heads” in the traditional sense like the statements we have all heard “Make sure not to break the head off”  technically it’s their mouth that if left behind can cause issues. Using your fine-point tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pulling in a slow but firm motion away from the skin will help prevent leaving parts of the tick behind. If you are uncomfortable performing the removal, please contact your pet’s veterinary team and they will be happy to assist you.
  4. Save the Tick For Testing:  Some vets will ask that you save the removed tick for further testing to determine the risk of contracting Lyme. You can do so by storing it in a plastic bag or pill bottle. Contact your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.

During the warmer months when we spend more time in nature, we naturally will increase the risk factor of being exposed to ticks. Preventatives like flea and tick medication should be a year-round treatment for your pets when considering the environment they live in. If you and your family regularly go for hikes, camping trips, and other things that increase exposure, speak with your veterinarian and they may recommend a vaccination to help protect against Lyme. Although symptoms of Lyme may not be present for some time, it is important to keep your pet’s veterinary team notified if a tick is removed. You should also watch for the following symptoms:

For any questions or concerns please contact our office and our educated staff will be happy to assist.