April is Lyme Disease Prevention Month and it’s important to protect your pets from the disease.
This month is the perfect time to refamiliarize yourself with all you need to know about Lyme Disease and how to protect your pets. Lyme disease is spread by black-legged ticks commonly known as deer ticks, who carry the nasty little bacterium called Borrelia Burgdorferi.
The reason Lyme disease can spread to pets and humans so easily is because ticks thrive in any environment with grass or shrubbery and especially in wooded areas. They hatch by the thousands. When they aren’t feeding on a host, they spend most of their time hanging out on leaves and grass waiting for their next meal to brush by and pick them up.
Once bitten by a tick carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the good news is that it usually takes at least 24 hours for the bacteria to be transmitted to a pet or person.
One way to protect you pets from Lyme Disease as well as flea and tick infestation, is to give monthly flea and tick preventatives to dogs and cats. The thing to understand is that when a tick bites a pet who is current on their monthly preventive, the tick will die. Because it takes at least a full day of feeding for Lyme Disease to be transmitted by a tick, this method of prevention is very effective.
Keep your grass trimmed. The more overgrowth grass or shrubbery, the happier the ticks will be.
Get in the habit of checking your pets and yourself for ticks after a day spent outdoors. Outside time is important for us and our dogs to get exercise, so it shouldn’t be avoided. We just have to be sure we’re looking for and removing any ticks quickly.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease generally take at least a couple of months to present. Some of the symptoms can be overlooked initially, so it’s a good idea to be familiar with these.
- Swollen joints
- Joint inflammation can migrate from one joint to another
- Lack of appetite
- Decreased activity
If your pet has any of these symptoms, see your pets veterinarian. If you recall a tick bite on them, don’t forget to mention that during your appointment. Lyme disease is usually treated successfully with antibiotics.
Call today to schedule your pets annual exam as well as flea and tick prevention.