Ok, so April has quite a few things attached to it (Prevent of cruelty to animals, Pet first aid awareness, etc.), but for today’s purposes, we’re preventing lyme disease! Or trying to. As this week – here in Central PA anyway – is the first week that’s had any hint of spring to it at all. Your dogs are likely itching to get outside and play, and unfortunately, so are the ticks.
So what is Lyme Disease anyway?
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi (boar-ELL-ee-uh burg-dorf-ERR-eye). Within 1 to 2 weeks of being infected, people may have a “bull’s-eye” rash with fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain. Some people have Lyme disease and do not have any early symptoms. Other people have a fever and other “flu-like” symptoms without a rash.
After several days or weeks, the bacteria may spread throughout the body of an infected person. These people can get symptoms such as rashes in other parts of the body, pain that seems to move from joint to joint, and signs of inflammation of the heart or nerves. If the disease is not treated, a few patients can get additional symptoms, such as swelling and pain in major joints or mental changes, months after getting infected.
How can I protect myself from Lyme disease?
Whenever possible, you should avoid entering areas that are likely to be infested with ticks, particularly in spring and summer when nymphal ticks feed.
If you are in an area with ticks, you should wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily and removed before becoming attached.
If you are in an area with ticks, wear long-sleeved shirts, and tuck your pants into socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots (since ticks are usually located close to the ground).
For more information on protecting yourself and your pets from Lyme disease, download our PVMA Lyme Disease fact sheet with more precautions and information. Learn more about Lyme disease, including answers to frequently asked questions, the natural history of Lyme disease and a narrated documentary at CDC’s Lyme disease website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme.
We’re going to cut to the chase and address some of the ways our furry friends can become sick and how to prevent it. I guarantee you some of these possibilities are downright scary as many of them include things in and around your home. Let’s get started.
Cats and lilies don’t mix
Everyone thinks of dog as the ones who will eat anything – and they will – but cats can be sneaky too. Many forms of lilies are extremely poisonous to cats. Some of the most dangerous are known as the Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, or Japanese show lily, resulting in acute kidney failure when eaten. Just 2-3 leaves or lily pollen groomed off the fur and ingested can be enough to poison your pet. While it won’t cause kidney failure in dogs, ingesting enough will cause some stomach issues. GET OUR PVMA FACT SHEET
Most people think of pesticides or other common household substances can be poisonous to pets but don’t consider that common indoor and outdoor plants and fruit leaves can be equally toxic. What follows is not a comprehensive list but can help you keep your pets safe around plants that can harm them. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any toxic substance, contact your veterinarian, emergency animal clinic, or poison control center immediately. Keep these important numbers by the phone or on the refrigerator so that you can find them easily during an emergency. GET OUR PVMA FACT SHEET
Endless things in the home could pose a danger to your pet, but human medications generally top the list as the most ingested. Keeping medications as well as household cleaners, first aid items, antifreeze, and other chemicals should always be kept out of reach of pets. Even harmless seeming items like chewing gum, caffeine, and some fruits and vegetables can be deadly. Click here to view a more complete list from Pet Poison Helpline. Pet Poison Helpline
As always, Pet Poison Helpline has an enormous amount of resources in it’s Pet Owner arsenal so that you can better educate yourself to prevent accidental poisonings. They also have a toll-free number – 855-764-7661 – which you can call anytime if you suspect your pet has been poisoned, or call your veterinarian.