Lyme Disease is Spread by Ticks
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the bite of Deer ticks (also known as Black-legged ticks).
The incidence of Lyme disease is increasing in our area thanks to the migration of white tailed deer and other tick wildlife hosts.
An infected tick must attach and be actively feeding on your dog for 24 to 72hrs in order to transmit the disease. The longer the tick is feeding - the greater the risk of Lyme disease transmission. Two forms of deer tick may transmit Lyme disease- the mature adult tick or the immature tick called a "nymph" (Nymphs can be as small as a sesame seed and may go undetected in the coat of your dog). Ticks are most active during the spring, summer, and fall months, but can survive in winter as well.
Symptoms can appear 2 to 6 months after the tick bite and may include: fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, shifting leg lameness, and swollen/painful joints. Rarely, dogs may develop potentially fatal kidney failure.
We recommend tick prevention and Lyme vaccination for at risk dogs: those that walk in grassy/wooded areas, go camping or hunting, or if you have seen ticks on yourself or your pets in the past. Be aware that ticks spread a variety of diseases, but Lyme is the most common and the only one that has a vaccine available. Tick prevention alone may not be enough to prevent Lyme disease!
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is predicting a dramatic rise in human cases of Lyme disease in 2015. While you are looking out for your pets- don't forget to check yourself for tick exposure! Cut down on tick habitats by keeping your property clean- cut grass short, remove leaf litter, and debris where ticks love to hide!
Visit www.dogsandticks.com for further information.