May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month! Lyme disease is a serious condition that can afflict both people and pets. As you may know, the disease is spread through ticks, which are unfortunately found throughout North America. Left untreated, Lyme disease can cause some very severe—and potentially life-threatening—issues, such as kidney failure and heart trouble. A Litchfield Park veterinarian offers some prevention tips below.
Ticks are frequently found lurking 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 attractive to ticks. Putting a three-foot gravel path around the edge of your property can also help. Ticks dislike being exposed, and will often turn back at these borders.
Check Fido on a daily basis, especially if he’s been in areas that may be harboring ticks. Pay extra attention to his paws, legs, belly, and ‘armpits.’ You’ll also want to check beneath your canine pal’s collar and in between his toes. If you do find a tick, remove it immediately using tweezers or a tick remover.
Keeping up with Fido’s parasite prevention is very important! There are now many different products available. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
No Free Lunch
Many wild animals are known to carry deer ticks. To avoid attracting rodents, keep your trash secure. If you have gardens or fruit trees, pick up fallen produce immediately. Also, use fencing to keep unwanted critters away from your garden.
There are certain vaccinations available for Lyme disease. However, these are not recommended for every dog. Ask your vet for more information.
It’s also important to take precautions for yourself as well. Wear protective clothing when venturing into fields or wooded areas, and check yourself thoroughly when you get back inside.
Keep in mind that not all ticks carry Lyme disease. Furthermore, 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 take a week or longer to appear. 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 veterinarian right away if you notice any of these warning signs.
Please contact us, your trusted Goodyear vet clinic, for all your pet’s health care needs. We’re here to help!