Animals (particularly dogs) are 50 to 100 times more likely to encounter disease-carrying ticks than humans. Tick-borne diseases in animals can cause serious symptoms ranging from lethargy and lameness, to paralysis and even death. Tick-borne diseases shared by pets and humans are Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, bartonellosis, hepatozoonosis and babesiosis.
Check with your veterinarian for tick control products and/or a Lyme vaccine that they consider safe for your animal. Be aware that many common tick repellent products and medications decrease the likelihood of infection, but do not eliminate it. Thus, it is important to do regular tick checks, especially on pets that have been outdoors. Be sure to examine between the animal’s toes, behind its ears, under its armpits and around the tail and head, as these are common sites of tick attachment. Use a brush to facilitate checks.
Treatment should be started as soon as possible to avoid late-stage disease and serious complications. Standard treatment for Lyme is at least four weeks of a broad spectrum antibiotic and longer in severe cases or if symptoms persist.
To decrease exposure to tick-borne disease, avoid walking your pets through the woods or tall grasses. If this cannot be avoided, a tick check should always be performed before re-entering the home.
Protecting your pet is also about protecting your family. Humans have often been bitten by ticks that were crawling on their pets. For this reason, do not allow pets to sleep in your bed at night. This is the area of the home that has the highest incidence of animal to human tick transfer.
A great resource for more information is www.dogsandticks.com. This website provides tips on how to remove ticks properly, the symptoms of common tick-borne diseases in pets, photographs of ticks, and an interactive map showing the incidence of different tick-borne infections in dogs across the United States.
- Map of Tick-Borne Diseases in Dogs
- Clogen Laboratories, LLC
- IDEXX Laboratories
http://www.idexx.com/view/xhtml/en_us/corporate/home.jsf type in “Lyme disease” in search box
- Animal Health Testing
- Bartonella in Cats
CDC and the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC)
- Diseases That Can Be Spread from Pets to People
- Pets & Parasites