May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month! Lyme disease is a serious medical condition that can afflict both people and pets. As you may know, the disease is spread through ticks, which can unfortunately be found all throughout North America. Left untreated, Lyme disease can cause some very serious—and potentially life-threatening—concerns, such as kidney failure and heart trouble. A Rockwall area veterinarian offers some prevention tips below.
Ticks tend to lurk in long grasses, leaf litter, and piles of debris, such as fallen branches. Mowing your lawn regularly and keeping on top of your landscaping will make your property less hospitable to ticks. Installing a three-foot gravel path around the edge of your property can also help. Ticks hate being exposed, and as such, will often turn back at these borders.
Check Fido daily for ticks, especially if he’s been in areas where ticks are more prevalent. Pay close attention to his 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, use tweezers or a tick remover to remove it immediately.
Keeping up with Fido’s parasite preventatives is extremely important! There are now many different products available. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Many wild animals harbor deer ticks. Keep your trash secure, so it doesn’t attract rodents. If you have gardens or fruit trees, pick up and discard fallen produce immediately. Also, use fencing to keep unwelcome critters out of your garden.
There are vaccinations available that can help to prevent Lyme disease. They are not, however, recommended for every dog. Check with your Heath or Rockwall area vet for more information.
It’s important to take precautions for yourself as well. Always wear protective clothing when you venture into fields or wooded areas, and check yourself thoroughly when you get back inside.
Keep in mind that not all ticks carry Lyme disease. Additionally, ticks have to be attached to your pet for 24-48 hours in order 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. Common signs include 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 vet if you notice any of these warning signs.
Please contact us, your Rockwall and Heath area vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!