Tick Borne Disease Prevention

We know that the number of Lyme disease cases in humans is on the rise. Did you know that it's also affecting our pets? Minnesota is ranked as a state with high incidence of Lyme disease, as well as other tick borne diseases. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, in 2020, there were 15,636 positive cases of Lyme Disease, 11,699 cases of Anaplasmosis, and 3,509 cases of Ehrlichiosis (https://capcvet.org/maps). With the peak season for ticks coming up in late spring and early summer, it’s important to protect your pet as well as recognize symptoms of Lyme Disease and other illnesses caused by these pests.

First, protect your pet. At Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, we suggest the following steps to protect your pet from tick-borne diseases:

  1. Keep your yard mowed and clear of brush where ticks could reside
  2. Avoid wooded areas during peak tick season, if possible.
  3. Always check for ticks after walking or playing outdoors in grassy fields near woods. Be sure to remove any ticks you find immediately while they are still attached to your pet’s skin. Since Lyme Disease can only be transmitted when an infected tick bites, its host, it’s important not to let them have a chance at infecting your pet.
  4. Consider a bit shorter haircut for your pet in these months ahead. This may help you spot ticks more quickly, and remove them before they can cause health issues.
  5. When examining your pet, pay close attention to their head, ears, neck and feet – as these can be some of ticks’ favorite places to attach. Of course, they may attach in other areas, as well, but these are the most common.
  6. Ask us for the most effective tick repellent for your pet’s age, overall exposure risk and health condition. Follow the directions exactly as provided to ensure that your pet is being protected effectively.
  7. Ask us if the Lyme vaccination would be a good option for your pet.

Second, be on the lookout for symptoms of tick borne illnesses in your pet.

Some symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs are lethargy, limping, fever and joint stiffness. You may notice swelling or loss of appetite. If you believe your pet has been bitten by a tick but is not showing any symptomatic behavior typically associated with ticks to avoid further harm please contact us for the best treatment options for your pet. When a positive case of Lyme Disease is confirmed, treatment typically involves a course of antibiotics. Left untreated, pets may become paralyzed, develop skin infections, experience renal failure and possible even have fatal consequences. Earlier diagnosis and treatment gives your pet the best chance of recovering from these diseases.

We know it’s been a long winter, and that you’re excited to get out and enjoy our beautiful Shoreview spring attractions with your pet! Keep in mind that a little prevention goes a long way in helping keep your pet safe from Lyme Disease, as well as other tick borne diseases. Fortunately our Minnesota Veterinary Hospital team is here to help – call us to schedule your pet’s appointment (651) 484-3331

Image credit: Melissa Keizer / Unsplash