According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), Lyme disease is now spreading to areas that were once thought to be low-risk.
The best way to combat this rapidly rising threat is to ensure your dog gets the Lyme vaccine and to keep your pets on reputable flea and tick prevention all year long.
Here are some quick facts to spread awareness of ticks and Lyme disease.
Fact #1: Lyme disease is transmitted through tick bites
Transmission of the disease usually takes from 24 to 48 hours after the tick bites. It can be difficult to detect due to its symptoms and can cause serious health problems.
Fact #2: Lyme disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium
Once a tick attaches to its host, the bacterium travels through the connective tissue to get to the joints, heart, and sometimes neural tissue.
Fact #3: Deer ticks are the most common perpetrators
While they aren’t the only tick to transmit Lyme disease, they are the most common culprit. Deer ticks love to hang out in forests or grassy/wooded areas near a water source.
Fact #4: Ticks do not drop or jump from trees onto their host
It’s a common myth that ticks like to drop from the branches of trees when “questing” for a host. They actually like to climb to the tip of tall grasses and wait on the end with their front two legs reaching out for an unlucky passerby.
Fact #5: You can’t get Lyme disease from your pet
If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease and licks you, they cannot transmit the disease to you. The only way for a human to contract Lyme disease is if a tick bites and transmits it to them. You can, however, get a travelling tick from the coat of your dog if it decides to move to you instead.
The most important steps you can take to prevent Lyme disease in you and your pet are to:
1. Avoid tall grasses or heavily wooded areas
2. Thoroughly check yourself and your pet once after being outdoors
3. Keep your lawn maintained and clear any shrubs near to your home
4. Talk to your vet about keeping your pet on reliable monthly flea and tick prevention
5. Make sure your pet stays up to date on their Lyme vaccination