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Lyme Disease, Your Pets and You | Health

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Lyme Disease, Your Pets and You
Health, Pets
Lyme Disease, Your Pets and You

 

(Welcome to our weekly pet column, courtesy of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla. We post a new article each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)

Pets are beloved members of the family. With Lyme disease on the rise, pet owners should take precautions when taking their pets, particularly dogs, outdoors in warmer weather.

Lyme disease is contracted through bites from black-legged ticks that have become infected after feeding on infected birds or rodents.

We all love to take our dogs out for a run in the park or a walk through the woods, but these types of activities could put your pet at risk for developing the disease. There are some things you can do to protect your pet.

• Tick bites on dogs, particularly long-haired breeds, may be hard to detect. Signs of Lyme disease appear two to five months after infection, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior, appetite or gait if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick. If you see symptoms, talk to your vet.

• Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.

• If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away with tweezers, store it in a zip-lock bag and contact your veterinarian if you're concerned.

• Ask your veterinarian to conduct a routine tick check at each exam and ask him or her when ticks are active in your area.

• Infected ticks are usually found in forests and in overgrown areas between the woods and open spaces. Ticks can, however, be carried by migratory birds, so it is possible to be bitten outside of these areas.

• Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventive products on your pet and the Lyme disease vaccine available for dogs.

Although pets, particularly dogs, can contract Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they can spread the infection directly to people. Pets can, however, carry infected ticks into homes and yards. Like people, the best protection for your pets is to avoid tick bites.

For additional information on Lyme disease, visit www.Canada.ca/health.

— News Canada

(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)

 
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