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Lyme Disease Myths
1. My dog never leaves my yard/ house. Ticks do not respect boundary lines or fences, nor do the wild/ stray animals who carry them. Yards are also prime habitat for ticks and their hosts with their gardens, leaf/ wood piles, shrubs, weeds, tall grasses, and sheds.
2. My dog lives in the city. We definitely have ticks in our local area! Our yards are a great environment for ticks. Do you walk your dogs through the neighborhood or parks? What about the occasional hike? Although infrequent, exposure to higher risk areas increases your dog’s chances for contracting Lyme disease.
3. My dog only goes outside for a minute. That’s all it takes folks! A quick squat near your shrubs can expose them to ticks and Lyme Disease.
4. I spray my yard for ticks. These chemicals wear off and new ticks move in. Don’t forget, you also need to cut grass short and remove weeds, leaves, and wood piles.
5. I use flea/ tick prevention, so I don’t need to vaccinate. Products like Nexgard and Seresto collars work well; however they are not 100%. Generic topicals and collars are not effective.
6. I vaccinate for Lyme Disease, so I don’t need to use flea/tick prevention. Ticks (and fleas) spread other diseases to dogs and humans in addition to causing irritation and discomfort. Although Lyme vaccinating is highly effective, nothing is 100% guaranteed.
7. I’ve never seen a tick on my dog. Ticks are small, especially the nymph (baby) stage. They need to get to your dog’s skin, so they burrow beneath the fur. Many dogs are diagnosed with Lyme Disease whose owners have not seen the tick. Keep in mind that your pet may be lucky to have not had a tick, but that can quickly change!
8. My dog can only get ticks during certain seasons. Here in central PA, we see ticks and Lyme Disease ALL YEAR LONG. It is true that different stages of ticks are more abundant in certain seasons and that animals who host ticks have different travel patterns based on the time of year, but that doesn’t stop the spread of Lyme Disease.
Dr. Kayla Whitfield, Lakemont Veterinary Clinic