The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issue an estimate each year of the number of people that contract this disease, and the newest estimate is ten times higher than the previous. It’s a disease that causes such issues as nausea, fatigue, kidney damage, joint pain and even death if left untreated. Fortunately, prevention is relatively easy and straightforward.
Lyme disease is classified as infectious, caused by a strain of bacteria that is carried and transmitted via ticks. The bacteria is found everywhere in the continental United States and various other countries, but appears to be heavily concentrated in the Midwest and eastern United States. The disease is treatable, but as with most health complications, early detection and treatment can make a world of difference.
Here are a few things doctors and veterinarians recommend to help prevent the contraction of Lyme:
- Speak with your veterinarian about having your pet vaccinated against Lyme disease. Sadly, the human form of the vaccine was taken off the market due to low demand (and perhaps unawareness).
- If you live in grassy or woodland areas, inspect your pet for ticks every day. If one is discovered, use tweezers to remove the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible, ensuring you remove the head from the skin. Pull up with steady even pressure – no jerking or twisting. The bacteria is carried within the tick’s belly, so make sure you do not squeeze the tick while it’s still attached to the host’s skin. Gently pull. Clean site with alcohol, iodine, or soapy water.
- Regularly use an effective flea and tick prevention product. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether an oral, or topical medication is best for you and your pet’s situation.
- If your pet is behaving differently, or exhibiting any unusual symptoms, bring them to the veterinarian immediately.
Lyme disease can become a nasty, debilitating situation if left untreated. It is important to stay vigilant, helping to protect both yourself and your pet from unwanted pests. While although the disease is present year round, it is especially prominent during the warmer months when tick activity increases.
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