Spring is officially here. How can I tell? Well, first off, my car is coated in a yellow powder from all of the tree pollen. The sky is finally blue and the air is warm enough for me to go running without donning 57 layers of clothing. Days are longer, and, oh yeah, I am seeing dogs and cats with ticks almost everyday in the office.
Now, ticks alone are gross enough but these blood sucking parasites also spread diseases. Some you have heard of like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Others, such as anaplasma, ehrlichia, and tick paralysis (yes, it is a real thing), may not be as familiar. Do to a second mild winter in a row, we are expecting a bumper crop of ticks, and so, a bad season for tick borne diseases. Quick side note, epidemiologists have a really cool way of predicting the incidence of Lyme disease. You see, the deer tick that carries Lyme disease actually spends part of it’s life on a mouse. When we have a good acorn crop, the mice have lots to eat. When the mice are well fed, well, mice will be mice, we get a lot of mice. A population increase in mice mean more hosts for deer ticks, and subsequently, a bad tick and Lyme season. You’ve probably guessed it, great year to be in acorns for the second or third year running and we are expecting another bad year for Lyme disease infections in our pets.
How can you keep your pets safe? The first leg of the protection platform is to detect and remove ticks before they can attach and transmit disease. It takes about 48 hours for a tick to infect your dog with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. A useful hint is to run a lint roller over your dog whenever you suspect that there has been a potential tick exposure. The little buggers will stick to the lint roller. The second leg is to use an effective tick control product to kill those ticks that you didn’t catch with the lint roller. We recommend an oral monthly product such as Simperica or a 6 month Seresto Collar. (Bella wears a collar). Please be aware, there are counterfeit products out there, we saw a counterfeit collar brought in by a client that purchased it on line last week. Check out our Facebook or Instagram pages to see a picture. Finally, vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease. There are no vaccines against the other tick borne disease, but Lyme is the most common in our area and vaccination is an important component of disease prevention.
In cooperation with Zoetis Animal Health, we have put together a special package to help you protect your dog. If you vaccinate your pet and purchase a years worth of Simperica oral flea and tick control product from us, we will discount the package 10%, offer a manufacturers rebate for the Simperica purchase (total rebate varies according to their current program), and Zoetis will offer a $7500 insurance policy towards treating your dog for Lyme disease should it become infected. Details are on our web page and this package is a great way to save some money while using the best technology currently available to protect your pet.
Oh, did you think I forgot about your cat? While felines are less susceptible to Lyme disease than dogs, they can get other flea or tick borne disease. Protect them with a Seresto Collar or a monthly topical application of the new Revolution Plus which will protect them from heartworm, intestinal worms, fleas and ticks with an all in one treatment.