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Pets and Lyme Disease

Pets are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases. Your pets can get Lyme disease. Prepare and know what to do in case you find a tick.

Pets and Lyme Disease

People who own pets should be particularly concerned about ticks, both for their animals’ sake and for their own. Dogs, cats and horses may contract Lyme disease and other bacteria carried by ticks,including bartonella, babesia, erhlichia, anaplasma, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick paralysis. Symptoms in pets may include joint problems, limping, or lethargy.

Furthermore, ticks on your pets can be a danger to you. Animal fur can act like a “tick magnet.” You may be exposed to ticks when you snuggle with your cat or dog, or when you ride your horse. Pet owners should check their pets for ticks and use tick collars or other topical flea and tick treatments.

~ LymeDisease.org

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Removing Ticks on Pets

Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Do not put essential oils on the tick or try burning it. All of these may irritate the tick, and if it is attached, may make the situation worse.

Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.

  • Check to see if the tick is attached. If the tick is small, flat, and crawling around on your clothes, skin, the floor, etc., this is a good sign as the tick has not bitten anyone or fed recently. If it is large with a full, round body, this is of more concern as it may have fed and fallen off of a pet or person.
  • If unattached, don’t try to kill it. If the tick is unattached, do not crush, burn, or otherwise destroy it. Do not touch the tick with your bare hands, instead use tweezers to pick it up. Put it in a sealed plastic bag or small jar in the freezer. In case symptoms of a tick bite develop, this preserves it for identification.
  • If attached: Use a tick removal tool and gently twist and pull up and off.

Purchase a tick remover and keep it on hand

Put one on your keychain to have it on hand.

These tick removers are inserted between the tick and the skin, then twisted gently until the tick releases. 

Unlike the tweezer method, this device is much more likely to result in a clean removal. The prongs on either side help ensure that the tick’s mouth doesn’t bend too far to the side and snap off while rotating.

If you don’t have a tick removal tool, use tweezers but grab the tick as close to the head/mouth as possible.

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Optional Tick Identification

After the tick has been removed, save it in a bag if you wish to send it in for testing. Visit the TickEncounter Resource Center for more information. On the website, you can follow instructions to submit a photo of the tick, and experts called TickSpotters will help you identify the risk of contracting Lyme based on the type of tick. 

Prevention

For the yard and house, use natural bug repellents instead of toxic chemicals.

DEET is present in many commercial insect repellents and has mixed results when it comes to safety. ~ NCBI PubMed

Natural bug repellents, as studies show essential oils like citronella can be just as effective as DEET. Essential oils are shown in studies to repel ticks: geranium, citronella, and lemon eucalyptus.

Purchase Bug Spray

The healthier your pet eats, the healthier your pet which makes it less likely to get disease!!

    Cat Note

    Cats may directly infect humans with bartonella through scratching or biting. Studies in some parts of the United States show that up to 80% of stray cats are infected with bartonella.

    ~ Lyme Disease.org

    AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE:  In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may receive monetary compensation for links to products from this post. However, I only recommend products that I personally love and use myself. If it is not good enough for me, it certainly is not good enough for you!!

    HEALTH COACH DISCLAIMER:  Health/Wellness coaching is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Trained and certified Health Coaches may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care. As your health/wellness coach I do not provide a second opinion or in any way attempt to alter the treatment plans or therapeutic goals/recommendations of your personal physician. It is my role to partner with you to provide ongoing support and accountability as you create an action plan to meet and maintain your health goals.

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