Last week, I highlighted some of the pesky pests that can harm our pets. With summer on its way and our anticipation of spending more time outdoors, I thought it good to focus on one of the most prevalent tick diseases that affects both people and pets: Lyme disease.
Lyme disease in humans
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease in humans are reported annually by health departments in each state and the District of Columbia. However, the CDC believes as many as 10x that number (or 300,000) could actually be infected.
The most prevalent areas for this illness are the New England and Mid-Atlantic states as well as the Upper Northern area of America, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. However, nearly every state has had at least one case in recent years.
Black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are the culprits of infecting someone with Lyme disease. Symptoms of this illness include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.
Lyme disease in pets
This bacterial disease gets into the bloodstream through the bite and attachment of a tick. The bacteria often travels to various parts of the body, causing problems in organs, joints and other areas.
Veterinarians recommend pet owners check their pets for ticks every time the animals are outdoors and remove the tiny, pesky creatures as soon as they are found. Preventative care is also advised. There are many anti-tick products available, so please talk with your veterinarian about the best choice for the area in which you live.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), symptoms of the disease in pets include fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, loss of appetite, and lameness. Our animals, however, may not show symptoms for two to five months.
Veterinarian use two different blood tests to confirm Lyme disease. Treatment for the illness includes use of antibiotics for at least 30 days. Some experts believe 50 to 75 percent of dogs in New England test positive for Lyme disease.
Although Lyme disease is not common in cats, if they roam outdoors for any length of time in tick-infested areas, felines can become infected if ticks are not removed. Lameness is a common symptom cat owners may notice, but sometimes cats don’t exhibit problems if they are infected.
Can people get Lyme disease from their pets?
According to the CDC, “Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners. However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of tick control products for animals.”
There are other illnesses spread by ticks to humans and animals, depending on the area where they live and the type of ticks that inhabit those areas.
These are serious diseases for people and animals. Therefore, do your best to protect your beloved furry friends and yourself this summer from blood-sucking, disease-bearing ticks!
As warmer, wetter weather of spring wiggles its way into the season of summer, pet parents need to be more wary of the pesky pests that can harm our beloved pets. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes carry diseases that are not only harmful, but can be deadly.
These tiny creatures are believed to be the most common external parasite found on dogs and cats – and they can invade your home if not controlled. Fleas cause itching and are known to be the most common cause of pet skin disease. According to Web MD, though tiny, these irritating pests can eat 15 times their own weight in blood, causing anemia in a dog or cat. Fleas can also cause tapeworms. Therefore, keeping these little pesky critters at bay is well worth the time and investment.
There are many types of ticks found in the United States. Although some are more confined to specific regions of the country, the Centers for Disease Control notes the spread of ticks is increasing. Different species cause different diseases. For example, the brown dog tick, which is found throughout the country, causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, to which humans are susceptible, and the black-legged tick causes Lyme disease, which also affects humans. Our pets can also become sick from these and other tick-borne diseases. Check yourself and your dog thoroughly for these blood-sucking critters anytime you’ve been outside and learn to remove ticks properly to protect yourself and your furry friend.
Mosquitoes also transmit diseases, some of which are deadly. One of the worst for our pets, especially dogs, is heartworm. Your dog may be infected but shows no symptoms at first. Cough and fatigue are the first notable signs. This disease, once discovered, is difficult to combat and some dogs don’t survive. Therefore, prevention is critical to keep your furry friend safe. West Nile Virus is another terrible disease animals and people can contract from mosquitoes. Fur provides some protection from mosquitoes, but ears and noses are vulnerable. Living and spending time near a water source makes you and your furry friend more susceptible to swarms of these tiny pests.
Protection from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes is critical to keeping your pet safe and healthy. You can purchase preventive products from your vet directly or from a local pet supply store. You can find a good resource on such products here:
You may also want to consult the Pet MD website for more information on fleas and ticks, which includes a Flea and Tick Survival Guide: http://www.petmd.com/flea-tick-survival-guide#.
Spring and summer bring more outdoor activities for both people and their pets; those seasons also birth the onslaught of the tiny critters that seek the fur and skin of both human and animal. Therefore, take the needed precautions to protect yourself and your pet to better enjoy these warmer months.
With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, the onset of summer is soon to follow. The holiday weekend and upcoming outdoor season often lead to outdoor cooking and eating.
From gas and charcoal grills to picnics in the park, the enjoyment of cooking and eating outdoors is not lost on people or their pets. Sizzling steaks and burgers, hotdogs over the campfire, and fresh fruits and veggies on the table make everyone’s mouths water … including those belonging to our furry friends.
However, before you step out during the next few weeks to fire up the flames, here are five tips to keep your beloved four-footed companion safe during outdoor cooking ventures:
Enjoy the onset of summer and spending time outside but remember these tips to have a good, less worrisome time when it comes to outdoor cooking and pet safety. See more on the infographic below, created by Petfinder.com.
I vividly remember the first day I saw him – tawny brown eyes staring at me through the kennel fence. He’d been brought in by someone who thought she’d rescue him from a backyard breeder, but her two already-adopted dogs wouldn’t accept a still-intact male. So, the woman brought the 10-year-old cocker spaniel into the local animal shelter, hoping he’d find a new home quickly. However, the shelter manager told me, despite his pedigree as a purebred cocker spaniel, his age might keep him from being adopted very quickly. It didn’t. Cody came home with me three days later, after a neutering, bath, and groom. We traveled together, shared time on the couch together, and enjoyed walks and dog park adventures together. He lived more than seven more years after I adopted him; Cody was nearly 18 years old before he passed away in my home. He was a wonderful companion for me and for the blind dog also living in my home at that time.
Some animal welfare groups estimate nearly 25 percent of dogs that enter animal shelters and humane societies are purebred. Several groups also estimate that only 2 percent of stray cats brought in to such facilities are reclaimed by their owners. I’ve adopted both dogs and cats from animal shelters and pet rescue organizations since I became an adult. Adoption saves lives and provides individuals and families with a wonderful furry friend. Adoption is kindness in action.
This week is known as Be Kind to Animals Week, a time set aside by animal welfare organizations to remind us all that just as people need kindness in their lives, so do animals. Every year, nearly 1.5 million dogs and cats die in shelters across the United States because not enough people adopt; that number translates to nearly 2,000 EVERY SINGLE DAY. Kindness + compassion = adoption.
Pets and People Help Each Other
Pets not only bring joy to the lives of their human caregivers, but they also benefit people in many other ways: they help reduce blood pressure and weight, they help keep our cholesterol low, and they provide us with love and devotion like no other. Pets help us be more social – ever gone to a dog park where no one talks to each other? We laugh more, we exercise more, and we dote on our “fur-kids” with toys, treats, and costumes, bringing more smiles to our faces when they pose for us, lick our faces, and beg for belly rubs. In short, animals our good for our minds, bodies, and spirits. How can we NOT be kind to them?
Yet, every day, dogs and cats (as well as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, horses, and others) await loving, kind people to give them a forever home. Could that person be you?
Kindness = Adoption
It’s been about a month since our 13-year-old springer/cocker mix, Mary, passed; my husband and I are considering adopting another dog not only as an extra companion for us, but also for our beloved Shih Tzu, Jeremiah. Pets grieve the passing of other household members, and I’m sure Jeremiah would enjoy once again having a four-footed companion as much as we would. This week is an ideal time to get more serious about adopting another pet.
I hope you’ll also take time this week to consider adding a new pet to your household. By being kind to a pet in need you could be saving not just one life, but two: the animal you adopt and the one waiting to take its place at the shelter or rescue. You can find your next furry friend at your local animal shelter, humane society, or pet rescue organization, through Best Friends Animal Society or the ASPCA, through a breed rescue group, or at Petfinder.com, ShelterPetProject.org, and AdoptaPet.com.
Resources for Adopters
There are many wonderful resources for people who adopt animals. Below you’ll find three, two for being better prepared to add that four-footed companion to your household, and the other listing several great reasons to adopt a pet: