Lyme Disease Poses Threat to Dogs
The CDC reports the incidence of Lyme disease has increased 40 percent from 2001 to 2002 for humans. As a result, there also is an increase in Lyme disease incidence for dogs. In fact, according to the American Lyme Disease Foundation’s (ALDF) best estimates, Lyme disease can occur at rates in dogs that are 50 to 100 times the rate of humans. “Dogs are at much greater risk for Lyme disease than are people living in the same geographic area,” says David Weld, executive director of ALDF.
“Hunting dogs’ exposure to Lyme disease can be significant because they spend more time outside and in wooded areas where ticks are prevalent,” says Dr. Marty Becker, nationally-renowned veterinarian and popular animal health columnist. “In fact, in areas where Lyme disease is endemic, the veterinary industry has recently seen an increase of cases.”
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, that is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected deer ticks and can affect both humans and pets. As hunters spend more time outdoors with their dogs, tick prevention is important. To reduce the health risks posed by ticks, including Lyme disease, dog owners should:
- Conduct a tick check every day to prevent the tick from transmitting the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (it is unlikely to occur before 36 hours of attachment ).
- Stop the bite. Ask a vet about using a monthly parasite preventative that repels and kills ticks, such as K9 Advantix®.
- Keep dogs away from moist, shaded areas (the environments ticks favor) when participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, camping and hunting.
- Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaf litter in the yard to a minimum.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), symptoms of Lyme disease in pets can include: itching, pain, appetite loss, lethargy, fever, swollen joints or lameness. If pet owners suspect Lyme disease in their pet, it is vital that they contact a veterinarian immediately to treat the problem.
- Ticks are most often found around a dog’s neck, in the ears, in the folds between the legs and the body, and between the toes, according to the AVMA.
- In 2002, 23,763 cases of Lyme disease were reported to the CDC, however it is estimated that hundred of thousands of cases go unreported.
- Antibiotics are a standard course treatment for most cases of Lyme disease.
- Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts with a pair of sharp tweezers as close to the skin as possible, not by the body, and begin to pull the tick gently away from the dog’s skin.
- Avoid squeezing the tick during removal as not to rupture the tick’s abdomen.
- After removal, place in a jar of alcohol to kill it, they do not die when flushed down the toilet.
- Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
Methods such as applying petroleum jelly, a hot match, or alcohol will not cause the tick to back out of the wound, and using a match can be dangerous.
Visit www.petparents.com for more information about parasite prevention, seasonal health tips and to find out how to get a FREE TUBE of Advantage® or K9 Advantix®.
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