Up here in the usually brittle March Northwoods, flowers are blooming, birds are flocking to feeders, and I just found three ticks on my dog (Rudder), two of them already imbedded and causing a skin reaction.
Although May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, the early Spring across the country is bringing warmer weather parasites to our homes in unprecedented numbers and earlier than before. Veterinarians are advising their clients to be prepared early this year. “The unusually warm weather across the nation this winter has prevented ticks from dying off as they usually do…” Dr. Kathy Hillestad, one of our veterinarians, told me. This means that we have to be extra vigilant about getting flea and tick preventives on our animals. In addition, parasitologists have warned that nowadays ticks can carry multiple diseases:
- Babesiosis (Piroplasmosis)
- Haemobartonellosis in Dogs and Cats
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Tick Paralysis
- Tularemia in Dogs and Cats
Statistically, this means that if your pet gets bitten by a tick, it increases the chance that he’ll get sick. This is even more reason to get going with that parasite protection.
I would have been prepared any other year- I immediately put K-9 Advantix II on him and am hoping that the ticks that were imbedded before I removed them didn’t transmit Lyme, Ehrlichiosis or Anaplasmosis to him. About 5 years ago, I had a Newf (Baci) with Anaplasmosis, and only knew it when I felt his foot next to me on the couch and noticed how warm and hugely swollen it was. Luckily I caught it early enough to be treated, although it was expensive.
It’s April now and Rudder hasn’t had a tick since I put the preventive on him. I still have to be observant, though, and search through his massive coat to catch ticks before they attach and have a chance to cause a tick bite reaction or worse.
Learn about another author’s experience with Lyme Disease.