Tick Awareness: Preventing Lyme Disease in Pets
Lyme disease has been in the news in recent years, and for good reason. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is the most commonly transmitted vector-borne illness in the United States. The disease affects both humans and animals, and if left untreated, can result in a multitude of painful complications.
With spring weather ramping up, now is the time to focus on preventing Lyme disease in pets. At Schertz Animal Hospital, the health of your pet is our top priority. We have the tools you need to keep your furry friends safe!
Lyme Disease in Pets
Many species of ticks can and will attach to your pet, but black-legged ticks (also known as deer ticks) carry Lyme disease. Although it is more common for dogs to become infected with Lyme disease, cats and other warm-blooded animals are also susceptible. Many pets don’t present symptoms of the disease, but those who do may experience fever, lameness, swollen joints, and changes in behavior.
Safeguarding Your Pal
Keeping your pet on a year-round flea and tick prevention medication is the absolute best way to prevent Lyme disease in pets. If you haven’t started your pet on a parasite prevention protocol yet, or are in need of a refill, please give the staff at Schertz a call right away.
Other ways you can protect your pet include:
- Thoroughly inspect your pet for ticks after being outdoors, paying special attention to the ears, between the toes, armpits, and base of the tail.
- When out walking or hiking with your dog, keep them out of brush and overgrown grassy areas.
- Make your property less hospitable to ticks by keeping grasses and bushes trimmed and removing any piles of leaves or debris.
- Talk to your veterinarian about whether or not your dog is a good candidate for the Lyme disease vaccine.
Tick Removal 101
Even with every safety measure in place, chances are good that you will find a tick embedded in your pet from time to time. Follow these steps to safely remove a tick from your pet:
- Use a pair of tweezers to grip the head of the tick, as close to your pet’s skin as possible.
- Pull the tick steadily out in a straight line, and avoid twisting or turning.
- Clean the site with rubbing alcohol or a pet-safe disinfectant.
- Dispose of the tick by burning or drowning it in rubbing alcohol. You may also preserve the tick in rubbing alcohol if you’d like to have it tested for Lyme disease.
- Monitor your pet for a rash near the attachment site, or any other symptoms of Lyme.
Dealing with ticks can be stressful, but with an eye on prevention and safeguarding, it’s possible to keep our pets healthy while still enjoying the outdoors. Don’t hesitate to call the team at Schertz Animal Hospital with your questions about Lyme disease in pets.