Last week while lavishing my dog with some behind-the-ear scratches after a walk together in the woods, I found a tick.
This was alarming for a couple of reasons. Not much larger than a freckle, the critter nearly escaped my notice. Even when I did see it, I almost dismissed it as a speck of dirt. Then I remembered: it’s summer, the weather is warm, and here are the ticks. Especially the tiny, easily-overlooked deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.
Ticks Reaching Unprecedented Levels in 2014
Tick populations are increasing and are poised to reach unprecedented levels in 2014, due to a number of factors including warmer winters, decreased insecticide usage, and the white-tailed deer population, which has swelled as a result of successful conservation efforts. White-tailed deer are ticks’ primary mode of travel and the main reason they are so widespread, although other migratory animals such as birds and coyotes transport ticks as well.
Vaccinate Your Dog Against Lyme Disease
When it comes to illnesses, prevention is generally the least costly and most successful option, and Lyme disease is no exception. Given the statistics about tick population and increase in Lyme disease, prevention should be considered a standard part of pet care, as important as wellness exams, vaccinations and even fresh water and food.
Ticks are generally found in wooded or grassy locations. If your dog never visits these areas, he or she is not at high risk for Lyme disease. However, if you take your dog for occasional visits in the country, there is a strong possibility that a tick will attach itself to his or her skin. Under these circumstances, even if you and your canine companion live in NYC, there is a good chance that he or she can contract Lyme disease.
Talk To a Staff Member at University Animal Hospital
Talk to a veterinarian or staff member at University Animal Hospital about vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease and implementing an effective protection plan against ticks.
Regardless of the method or combination of methods you choose, it is a good idea to always thoroughly check your dog after being outside, especially in woodsy, grassy or brushy areas. If a tick is attached to your dog’s skin, remove it carefully and wash the affected area and your hands with soap and water.
For more information or to schedule a Lyme disease vaccination for your dog, please call University Animal Hospital today.