Are You at Risk for Getting a Tickborne Disease?

Names like Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Erlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever aren’t always on the tip of the tongue.  They should be. Tickborne diseases are on the rise for both humans and pets. We are also seeing high numbers of ticks this year. We want you to be aware of the facts and to minimize the risks of getting a tickborne disease.

The Tree Myth

Trees are often thought to be the main culprits for picking up ticks, but ticks live on the ground. They crawl up grass or other plants and find a host from there. You and your pet can get ticks simply from being in your yard.

Treat your pet regularly with flea and tick preventive. Untreated pets are more likely to bring ticks into the home.  This means an increased chance of passing them on to you or your family.  Check everyone (both two and four-legged) frequently for ticks.

How to Remove a Tick

Learn how to properly remove a tick.  It is a myth to use Vaseline, a lit match or alcohol to make the tick “let go.”  In fact, these techniques may actually end up causing the tick to release more of the disease-carrying saliva into the host. To remove a tick, use tweezers and grasp it as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick out with a firm grasp. Clean the area well with soap and water. If you would like to identify the tick, this chart may be helpful. Be sure to dispose of the tick safely. Always check with your health care professional or veterinarian for any concerns you may have.

Keep in mind tick season runs from April to November.  It is important to use preventive consistently throughout these months or consider going to year-round protection. Another recommendation is to have your pet tested for heartworm each year.  When we run this test, we will also be testing for Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Erlichiosis.  Finally, vaccinate your dog against Lyme Disease.

Understanding these risk factors and how to minimize them will go a long way in preventing tickborne diseases.

For more information on this important topic, we offer the following links: