Lyme disease is a serious threat – get prepared!

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tick

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This month there have been 4,103 new positive cases for Lyme in PA.

There has now been a total of 23,655 positive cases for Lyme in PA for the year.

If that doesn’t scare you, it should. In fact, in 2013, 95% of confirmed lyme disease cases came from 14 states, including Pennsylvania. So let’s brush up on what lyme disease is and precautions to take.

What is Lyme disease?
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.


Can animals transmit Lyme disease to me?

Yes, but not directly. People get Lyme disease when they are bitten by ticks carrying B. burgdorferi. Ticks that carry Lyme disease are very small and can be hard to see. These tiny ticks bite mice infected with Lyme disease and then bite people or other animals, such as dogs and horses, passing the disease to them.


How can I protect myself from Lyme disease?

  • 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).
  • Application of insect repellents containing DEET (n,n-diethyl-m-toluamide) to clothes and exposed skin, and permethrin (which kills ticks on contact) to clothes, should also help reduce the risk of tick attachment. DEET can be used safely on children and adults but should be applied according to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines to reduce the possibility of toxicity.
  • Since transmission of B. burgdorferi from an infected tick is unlikely to occur before 36 hours of tick attachment, check for ticks daily and remove them promptly. Embedded ticks should be removed by using fine-tipped tweezers. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.
  • You can reduce the number of ticks around your home by removing leaf litter, and brush and wood piles around your house and at the edge of your yard. By clearing trees and brush in your yard, you can reduce the likelihood that deer, rodents, and ticks will live there.

How can I find more information about Lyme disease?
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.

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Take precautions with your pets in hot summer weather

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Protect pets this summer during hot weather

Admit it – winter seemed to last forever this year! We were all itching to get out in the yard, to the pool, to the beach, or just on a long walk without freezing to death. Is it hot enough for you now? I bet it’s hot enough for your dog.

We at PVMA have a selection of consumer and client fact sheets, one of the most important of which is Hot Weather Tips for Pets. I’ll list some of the most important tips here, but please consider downloading our fact sheet. It’s free to print for yourself or to copy and distribute to friends and clients.

Ok, here goes!

Do not leave your pet alone in your car
This should be a no brainer, but its seems every few days there is some numb skull in the news who has left their child, their dog, or both lockedi in the car as temperatures soar. Vehicles heat quickly in the sun, and animals left in them can succumb to heat stroke in a very short time. Signs to watch for are: heavy, loud breathing, a staggering gait, and a bright red tongue or gum tissue. If heat stroke is suspected, get the animal to a cool place, put cold compresses on his belly, or wet him down. This is a medical emergency—take him to your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Limit exercise
To prevent him or her from overheating, don’t let your dog exercise in hot weather. If you want to run with your dog, do it in the cool hours of the early morning or late evening.

Keep cool
Dogs and cats need a cool, shady place to sleep during hot weather, as well as plenty of clean, fresh water, accessible at all times. Feed your dog or cat in the cooler hours of the day. Older animals have a hard time in hot weather, so be extra sensitive to their needs during the hottest hours of the day.

Vaccinate!
Be sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Parvo virus, an illness that flourishes in hot weather, can be fatal to dogs that have not received their vaccinations. Also, be sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are current. During the summer months, pets often spend more time outdoors, and the chances of encounters with wildlife (possible rabies carriers) increase.

These tips and more can help you and your pet enjoy a summer full of fun together, but be sure to download our Hot Weather Tips for Pets fact sheet to learn even more!

Fun with preventive care!

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Attack-of-the-cute-animals-13I was going to write a detailed post about preventive care and the importance of regular veterinary visits for your pets (to prevent bigger issues down the road), but then I thought, what the heck! It’s Friday! Let’s have a little fun. (With some preventive care facts thrown in.)

  1. Microchip, microchip, microchip! If you pet gets lost or stolen, any veterinarian or shelter can scan the microchip and reunite you with your animal. Always remember to update your personal information with the microchip company if you move or change emails/phone numbers. And who wouldn’t want their dog returned if they acted liked these guys!? (Warning: you won’t make it through without at least one belly laugh and one awww…)
  2. Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate! While it’s critical for every pet to get a rabies shot, I especially cringe when I hear cat owners say, I don’t get the shot because my cat doesn’t roam around outside. Even if your cat only walks around a fenced in yard or got outside once accidentally, you don’t know what – or whom – they been exposed to. Always get preventive shots as your veterinarian recommends. Keep your cats healthy and they could act like this.
  3. Make sure your pets stay at a healthy weight. Obesity is not only a problem for humans, but can also cause health problems in pets including diabetes and organ failure. Throw balls, go for walks, whatever you and your pet enjoy to work a little exercise into each day. Keep your pets and they could perform one of these stunts.
  4. And last but not least, love them. Just look at how much they love you.