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!
Winter is passing and a new season is teasing. Warmer temperatures and bright sunshine can, and does, give way to rain, and even a few snow showers here and there. But, with the calendar page turned to April now, we know the new season of spring is fast approaching. And most of us rejoice.
Our pets, too, usually look forward to the change. Dogs spend more time outdoors in the yard, on walks, or at the dog park. Cats bask in sunshine and watch birds and insects through the window. But, with the onset of spring can come hazards. Below are six of which to be aware:
There are many other spring hazards that can harm our beloved furry friends. For more information and additional safety tips, visit these websites:
While walking through Montana woodlands last weekend with my friend and her dog, I pondered the tiny pests which can affect we humans and our animals. Just thinking of the possibility of ticks made my neck itch that day! Although it’s fun to hike and saunter the woodlands with our pets during summer, there are several tiny, nasty pests which can affect the enjoyment of such activities.
During this season of the year, many of our beloved animals spend more time outside. Running through grass, exploring forests, and encountering other pets while outdoors can bring your pet into contact with fleas and ticks. These tiny creatures can cause plain irritation as well as great harm to dogs and cats. According to Web MD, fleas, though tiny, can eat 15 times their own weight in blood, causing anemia in a dog or cat. Fleas cause itching and are known to be the most common cause of pet skin disease. Ticks, when not removed properly, can bring Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to both animals and people.
Various preventive programs curb fleas and tick exposure, and therefore, a pet parent's worry. Talk with your veterinarian about how to prevent these tiny pests from infecting and affecting your dog or cat. You can purchase preventive measures from your vet directly or from a local pet supply store. 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#. Learn more about fleas and ticks and their impact on pets at http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-flea-and-tick-overview.
Ticks and fleas aren’t the only miniscule pests which pet parents should be concerned about. Mosquitoes also pester animals as well as people. Fur provides some protection, 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 mosquitoes; therefore, use protection from these blood-suckers. Mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus as well as heartworm, a major disease affecting dogs; cats can get the disease as well. View heartworm incident maps at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/incidence-maps. Therefore, protect your pet from mosquitoes. Dogs and cats can be allergic to tiny problematic creatures like ticks and mosquitoes – another a good reason to protect them from these pesky pests!
Other small pests which can affect the enjoyment of summer for people and their pets include biting flies and gnats. These little creatures may also carry disease. Therefore, protect yourself and your pets from them as well.
Being outdoors during summer is fun for us and our pets, particularly our dogs. But remember, there are tiny creatures out there just waiting for a warm body, ours and our animals, on which to inhabit. Therefore, take the needed precautions and purchase those preventative remedies to keep your beloved pet from being infected by fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other tiny, pesky pests. Talk with your veterinarian about how to keep your furry friend safe and healthy this summer.
Spring weather can be wild and wacky, but one thing is for sure: warming weather means more time outdoors. But this better weather and outdoor time spring can also bring out nasty pests that harm our pets.
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks can cause not just irritation but also great harm to our dogs and cats. According to Web MD, fleas, though tiny, can eat 15 times their own weight in blood, causing anemia in a dog or cat. At a minimum, fleas cause itching; they are known to be the most common cause of skin disease in dogs and cats. Ticks can bring Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever not only to humans, but to our pets as well.
With warming weather, many of our animals spend more time outside. Running through grass, exploring the wonderful Wyoming forests, and encountering other pets while outdoors can bring your dog or cat into contact with fleas and ticks. And your pets can bring these pesky critters into your home. But, you can restrain that exposure.
There are a myriad of preventive programs to curb these pests, and therefore, a pet parent's worry. Talk with your veterinarian about how to prevent fleas and ticks from infecting and affecting your dog or cat. You can purchase preventive measures from your vet directly or from a local pet supply store. You may also want to consult the Pet MD website for more information on fleas and ticks; the site includes a Flea and Tick Survival Guide: http://www.petmd.com/flea-tick-survival-guide#. Learn more about fleas and ticks and their affect on pets at http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-flea-and-tick-overview.
Flies and Mosquitoes
Fleas and ticks are not the only minute pests to be concerned about. Biting flies and gnats can be obnoxious to humans and their animals and may at times carry disease. Mosquitoes, too, not only pester people, but they also bother our animals. Fur provides some protection, but ears and noses are vulnerable. If you live near a water source or take your dog to your favorite fishing hole or to the lake, you should be concerned about mosquitoes and your pet. In fact, mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus as well as heartworm, a major disease affecting dogs; cats can also get it. Although Wyoming is not typically a heartworm prevalent state, incidents have risen during the past decade, according to researchers (view heartworm incident maps at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/incidence-maps).
In addition to the diseases that our pets can obtain from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, dogs and cats can be allergic to these tiny problematic creatures. My springer/cocker mix, Mary, for example is allergic to many environmental objects, including grass, some trees, and mosquitoes. The only way my husband and I knew what allergies she has was to get her tested. Yes, it's an outlay of money, but we now know how best to help her and we know to protect her from mosquitoes. So, when we plan to travel to a moist, humid climate or to a lake or river, my husband and I make sure Mary is protected from mosquitoes.
Being outdoors during spring and summer is fun for us and for our pets, particularly our dogs. But remember there are tiny creatures out there just waiting for a warm body, ours and our pets, on which to inhabit. Therefore, take the needed precautions and purchase those preventative remedies to keep your pet from being infected by fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Talk with your veterinarian and keep your furry friend safe this season!
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.