If your family has a dog, it is likely you’ve heard something about Lyme disease, a common infectious disease that is transmitted through the black-legged tick. This disease not only affects dogs and dog-owners, but is something everyone, especially those living in the northeast, should know about. With the right precautions, Lyme disease is very easy to prevent. As you are heading out to explore your neighboring parks, or are planning a trip to go hiking, just remember to follow these few pointers!
1. Make sure to keep covered when outdoors, especially in wooded areas.
While the chances of getting bit by a tick in the middle of a major city are unlikely, if you’re walking around wooded or rural areas, protect yourself by wearing socks and long pants to completely cover your legs, and long sleeves and a hat or cap to cover your upper body.
2. Check for ticks immediately after being outside.
Once you return from your walk, run, or hike, make sure to perform a full body scan to check for any ticks. Lyme disease takes at least 48 hours to be transmitted from tick to host, so as long as you find the tick early, and inform your doctor right away, you’re in the clear!
3. Perform tick-checks on your dog regularly.
Run your fingers through your dog’s hair carefully, feeling around for any small bumps. If you happen to find a tick, the best way to remove it is with tweezers. Make sure to inform your dog’s vet to see if an antibiotic treatment is necessary.
4. Discuss preventative treatments with your vet.
Some dogs may benefit from preventative treatments such as a topical parasiticides, or a tick collar. If necessary, follow protocol carefully for the best results. Some vets might also recommend a vaccine. This can be determined on a case-by-case basis and may depend on your location.
5. Don’t let the threat of Lyme keep you inside!
While the threat of Lyme disease might make it feel impossible to enjoy the outdoors, don’t let it keep you inside. Like we’ve said, as long as you’re taking the proper precautions for your family and your dog, everyone should be safe.
To learn more about Lyme disease, and find more about seeking testing and treatment, visit www.LymeDisease.org for more information.