By: Tracey Zysk – May, 2015
When it comes to these pesky little creatures … ugghh, they are everywhere in the Merrimack Valley, Southern New Hampshire and even hiding in your own backyard. This year has already been unbelievable. They are not only annoying and gross, they can cause harm to your dogs.
Just this past Friday one of my clients called to tell me her dog was in the hospital and diagnosed with Lyme disease. Yes, even in early spring we have ticks. In fact, with our ever changing weather it is common for these “little buggers” to be around most of the year.
Scary statistic I came across on the Massachusetts Health and Wellness website:
“In the United States, the reported incidence of Lyme disease, or number of new cases, is greatest in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and upper-Midwest regions. Massachusetts had the fourth highest incidence rate (number of new cases per 100,000 people) of Lyme disease nationwide. “
People and dogs are equally susceptible to Lyme and unfortunately, it seems to be only getting worse.
That’s right, our state is the fourth highest in the NATION for people and pets to be diagnosed with Lyme….and to make it more of a reality, Merrimack Valley has been ranked one of the top regions in MA. We are still an area of woodland, fields and wildlife. All where our naggy ticks like to live.
Obviously you are not going to stop walking your dogs, bringing them out on the trails and forbidding them to run around on your properties. But what can you do?
Well the most important thing is to be aware. Know the areas your dog is playing or walking. Is it high grass, woods, leafy area or brush? All these areas are high risk for carrying ticks.
After your pooch has had his play time, take a minute and do a tick check. Go over the body and through the fur, check for a lump or bump on the skin. Find a surprise? Hope not, but if you do, use a tick remover or tweezers and pull it off of your dog immediately. Please remember to pull and not twist. This will help to remove the entire tick and make the pinch to your dog a little less painful.
Common Symptoms of Lyme in Dogs:
* Joint problems
* Stiff back
If your dog shows any of the following symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately for a Lyme test. Lyme, if caught early enough is easily treatable with antibiotics. If not treated, Lyme can destroy your dog’s liver, kidney and even cause paralysis.
Along with awareness comes prevention. What can you do to protect your dog before all of this happens? Well, there are a several products on the market from shampoos, powders, sprays, collars and Frontline and BioSpot. There is also a complete line of holistic and all natural products too. Groom and spot-check your pet regularly. As always, you should always discuss all of these in detail with your veterinarian to decide what is the best option for your dog.