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There Ain’t No Bugs On Me

Lyme Disease Prevention Month & National Heartworm Prevention Awareness Month

By Lynn Stacy Smith  
 

I will never forget the day that I learned a hard lesson about letting my dog frolic in the tall grass of a hiking trail on a beautiful sunny day. The hike itself was perfect, just Dutch, my late German Shorthaired Pointer, and me on a hike that lasted hours and took us through tall grasses, wooded areas and around small lakes and ponds. Dutch enjoyed some extra freedom on his extra long lead and I loved the emotional bonding that we did.

Later that night I snuggled with Dutch and we shared a blanket as I watched TV. I idly stroked Dutch’s ears, marveling as I often did at how silky they were.  All of a sudden something on his ear moved and I jumped. It was a tick!

I jumped up and ran to my bathroom to grab my tweezers. I quickly removed the tick, flushed it down the toilet and started to return to my comfy spot on the couch. And then I wondered…what if there are others!

Sure enough, there were others. Many, many, many others. My poor Dutch was covered in them. I pulled at least twenty more ticks off of him that night, combing through every inch of his silky brown and white speckled fur as our shared blanket and every piece of bedding in my home went through multiple laundry cycles on hot. Dutch had had his annual Lyme prevention shot for the year; I did not have such a vaccine so I was just as worried for myself as for my dog.

I share this tale of a hike through tall grasses at the start of Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs month.  Lyme Disease is a serious ailment that is spread by infected ticks. Dogs can experience joint issues and lameness, kidney problems, fever, lack of appetite and in rare cases heart abnormalities. Depending on the severity of the disease humans can experience skin inflammation, heart and nervous system issues and motor and sensory nerve damage.

Your veterinarian should always be your first resource for information on Lyme disease vaccinations and preventative measures. However doing your own research before speaking to your veterinarian is recommended. You should also decide if you plan to use a chemical or natural repellant on your dog and whether your dog requires protection every day or just on walks in certain locations.  I strongly suggest the following article titled Ticks: Natural Prevention and Care

from Dogs Naturally Magazine. 

lyme disease in dogs

With any disease or medical condition your dog’s overall health is an important component. Although Canine Caviar holistic pet food cannot prevent or cure any disease, it is a complete and balanced diet for pets.  The alkaline PH balance of Caine Caviar promotes health tissues inside the body. Just like with humans, dogs that consume a healthy diet are better prepared to fight illness than those who do not eat the nutrients that their bodies require.

Finally, use good sense when going on walks. Although Dutch had the time of his life in the tall grasses of our midwestern hike I should have realized that it was a prime location for ticks to sit and wait for a host. Staying to groomed trails, although not as much fun for your dog, may keep you from spending an evening washing linens and pulling ticks off of your furry babies.  Dutch and I did not give up our hikes in that park, but I did change the timing of them, making that our hike of choice in the winter months instead of during tick season.

April is also National Heartworm Prevention Awareness month, so make sure that you partner with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet stays safe from heartworms throughout the year.  We also recommend that you do plenty of research on each heartworm medication on the market before choosing one with the help of your veterinarian.