The year is flying by and we are already in the month of May. What is important about May to me is that it is Lyme Disease Prevention Month. If, you own a dog or cat, or even come into regular contact with dogs, or cats, this article is a must read.
Lyme Disease, is what is known as a zoonatic illness, meaning it can affect both humans and animals.
Lyme Disease in Humans
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia and is spread by ticks. It is an illness carried in the blood. The most common reaction after being bitten is a swelling and redness around the tick bite, which normally only appears about a week after being bitten. It is not normally itchy or painful. Further early symptoms may include headaches, fever and tiredness. If left untreated the symptoms may escalate to severe headaches, memory loss, joint pain, loss of the ability to move either one or both sides of your face, and in some cases’ heart palpitations.
Lyme disease can cause you to have repeated joint pain and swelling months to years later.
Diagnosing and Treatment Of Lyme Disease
Diagnoses of Lyme Disease will be based on your symptoms, exposure to ticks, and blood tests. Blood tests can be negative in the early stages of the disease.
Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme Disease and the standard treatment can last from two to three weeks.
How Is Lyme Disease Spread
Lyme disease can only be transmitted to you through a tick bite. Certain species of ticks carry the Borrelia bacteria.
It cannot be passed from human to human, or from an animal to a human. It also does not appear to be passed on through food.
Preventing Lyme Disease Starts With You
We all know the old saying, prevention is better than a cure. There is a number of steps you can take to help prevent Lyme Disease.
Protect Yourself from being bitten – this can be done by wearing long sleeved shirts, and trousers if you are out in the bush, or walking through long grass. This helps to prevent the tick from latching onto hairs on your skin.
You can also use insect repellents that are known to repel ticks. Whenever we went out bush, on returning we would always do a thorough check of our bodies to make sure we were tick free. If, you do have a tick on your body use a tweezers to gently remove it.
Preventing Lyme Disease In Your Animals
There area number of steps you can take to keep your pets tick free. These include the following:-
Regularly checking their coats for ticks, removing and destroying any you may find.
Avoid taking your pets for walk in long grass, woody areas, marshes or thick brush. The tick normally has to be attached between 24 to 48 hours before it can spread the disease.
Talk to your vet about using a Lyme Disease preventative vaccine. Your vet should be able to advise if it is necessary in your area, and which is the correct one for your animal.
Ask your vet about using a recommended tick preventative. These come in different forms. A chew-able tablet is probably the most simple, they are meaty flavored and hopefully your pet will love the taste. If not you can try wrapping them in meat.
You can put a tick prevention collar on your pet, they normally last a couple of months and can be worn at all times.They can even be left on if your pet goes into water.
A topical gel may be applied between your pets shoulders. You must ensure that your pet cannot lick this cream or gel off themselves. Ask your vet about keeping your pet safe if you use a topical treatment.
Removing A Tick From Your Pet
Giving your pet a regular check for ticks should be a habit. If, you do find a tick on them, do not just pull the tick off. It is recommended that you first wipe the area with rubbing alcohol. Get a pair of pointy tweezers and place them as close as possible to the ticks head. Pull gently and slowly, and try to pull the tick off in a straight up line, not to the side. You are trying to prevent the tick breaking off inside your pet. Give the bite another wipe with rubbing alcohol. Be sure to kill the tick, I used to keep a bowl of hot water handy and drop them in.
Year Round Prevention
While you may not need to vaccinate your pet, or apply tick prevention medicine, all year round, do check with your vet to see when protection is needed. However, ticks thrive in hot weather, but they can still be around in the cooler months. Do not stop checking your animals for ticks just because the temperature has dropped. In this blog I explain a natural remedy for repelling ticks for both humans and animals.
You never want a tick hitching a ride home with you or your pet. Do not put out the welcome mat, keep up yearly prevention.
Symptoms and Treatment of Lyme Disease In Your Pet
These are similar to the symptoms in a human. They include loss of appetite, fever, reduced energy, swelling of joints, generalized discomfort, pain or stiffness, and lameness. If left untreated Lyme disease can lead to kidney failure and is unfortunately a common illness in our pets.
Your vet will observe your pet, and probably carry out two blood tests. The illness will normally show up in the blood between 2 to 3 weeks after the bite. Your vet will determine if treatment is necessary, this is normally a course of antibiotics.
Covering the Cost Of Keeping Our Pets Healthy
Tick season can become expensive, I would strongly suggest you consider purchasing insurance to help with the cost of vaccinations and any vet expenses that may occur from your pet getting Lyme Disease. Click this link to find our more about Lyme Disease and how Embrace Pet Insurers can help you.
Please leave a comment and share any ideas you may have for tick prevention, with me.
“Some angels choose fur instead of wings” – author unknown.