Aside from the fact that they’re just plain gross, ticks also spread diseases. The most common one we see in this area is Lyme disease. It’s so common, in fact, that we test for exposure annually along with your dog’s heartworm test, and over the past several years, we’re seeing more and more dogs test positive for exposure.
Just like in people, Lyme disease can be silent with no symptoms or it can cause serious illness. The most common symptoms we see with Lyme disease are arthritis-like joint pain and kidney damage. In severe cases, the kidney damage can become life threatening.
Given the increasing incidence of Lyme in our area and the potentially severe complications, it is important to protect your dog.
We recommend three steps to provide the best protection:
1) Check your dog for ticks after each time he or she goes outside. Ticks like to hide in ears, between toes, and in other warm areas. A thorough check allows you to remove ticks before they can be attached long enough to pass along diseases.
2) Use an effective flea and tick preventative. Those ticks are tricky – if one hides well enough that you miss it, it’s important that your dog is medicated so that tick will die and fall off quickly. For most dogs, we recommend a monthly chewable called Nexgard. It’s a prescription product, so give us a call at 269-381-1570 or talk to us at your dog’s next appointment.
3) Consider vaccinating your dog for Lyme disease. The vaccine primes your pet’s immune system to recognize Lyme disease, making it more likely that your dog can defeat the disease before it progresses to a full blown infection if he or she is ever exposed. If your dog has never been vaccinated before, he or she will need two boosters spaced 3-4 weeks apart. After the initial series, the vaccine is boostered annually.
As always, we’re here for any questions you might have about Lyme disease or tick prevention. Call us at 269-381-1570.