Last week, while lavishing my dog with some behind-the-ear scratches after a walk together in the woods, I found a tick on her leg. 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 or a bit of lint—after all, it had been six months since I had needed to be vigilant. Then I remembered: It’s spring, the weather is getting warmer, and here come the ticks—especially the tiny, easily-overlooked deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.
Ticks Reaching Unprecedented Levels in 2013
And there are even more reasons to be concerned. According to an article in Veterinary Practice News, tick populations are increasing and are poised to reach unprecedented levels in 2013, 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 least stressful option, and Lyme disease is no exception. Given the emerging statistics about tick population growth and disease, prevention protocols should be considered a standard, not optional, part of pet care—as important as semi-annual 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 are urban dwellers, there is a good chance for contracting Lyme disease.
Talk To a Staff Member at Long Island City Veterinary Center
Talk to a veterinarian or staff member at Long Island City Veterinary Center 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.