According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), Lyme disease is on the rise with over 300,000 cases diagnosed every year. In order to keep pets safe and healthy, it is important that pet owners remain aware of the following tips and Lyme Disease safety precautions.
- Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi which is transferred to both humans and animals by ticks.
- Thoroughly checking pets for ticks daily can help reduce exposure to Lyme disease. Be aware that tick larva can be as small as a poppy seed.
- In some regions, ticks can be present year round. Pet owners should consult with their family veterinarian to see if year round flea and tick medication is right for their pets.
- Tick habitats can be limited by keeping shrubs and grass closely trimmed, as well as keeping yard debris to a minimum.
- Although Lyme disease can take up to 24-48 hours to infect the host, if a tick is found on a pet, the tick should be removed immediately. Here are some tips for removing a tick:
- When removing an attached tick, it is important to firmly grasp the tick by the head, avoiding their body. If the body is squeezed, its contents can be forced into the skin which may transmit disease.
- After firmly grasping the head, pull gently. The tick will usually be removed with a small amount of skin still in its mouth, confirming no part of their mouth or head has been left inside.
- Clean the area with soap and water. If the area becomes red and swollen for more than 24 hours, a follow up visit with a veterinarian is recommended.