With spring fast approaching (hopefully), are you ready? Once again as we venture outdoors with our pets, we need to be protecting them from pests that can transmit serious diseases. Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas will be taking advantage of the warmer weather too. As you may know, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease to both our dogs and cats. Fleas and ticks are themselves awful to have in our homes as they can bite us as well. Ticks can also transmit several diseases that can affect our dogs that are potentially deadly. Lyme disease is the most frequently seen tick-borne disease in this area. Many dogs are infected and do not show symptoms; those that are unlucky may develop lameness, which may shift from leg to leg, have fevers, and even develop kidney disease.
This spring we have chosen a more comprehensive heartworm test that not only checks for heartworm disease, but also three tick-borne diseases: Lyme disease, Erilichiosis and Anaplasmosis. If your dog tests positive for any of these, further testing may be warranted to determine if and what type of treatment is necessary.
What can we do before the tick has bitten? Flea and tick prevention is a must. We have many options to choose from that will kill the tick before it has a chance to spread disease or before fleas set up an infestation in our home. Is this 100% effective? As with everything else, no. Vaccinating against Lyme disease is an important second line of defense. Should your dog be bitten by a tick and that tick has enough time to pass along the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, the vaccine will prepare your dog’s immune system to attack it and thereby prevent an infection.
So get out there and have fun! On your way out please stop by our clinic so that we can update your dog’s heartworm test, assess if a Lyme vaccination is a good idea, and stock up on flea and tick prevention.