Time is Tick-ing Away – Is Your Pet Protected Against Lyme Disease?
Apr 02, 2017 12:07PM ● Published by North Hills Monthly magazine
By Eleanor Miller, Senior Animal Wellness Coordinator/Medical Coordinator
April is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and with the warm weather just around the corner, Animal Friends wants to be sure you have everything you need to protect your pets. Lyme disease can quickly become a serious issue not only for the animals in your life, but for you.
Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing diseases transmitted by insects or other organisms in the United States. As the summer months quickly approach, it’s important to protect your pets against this debilitating disease. Lyme disease is more commonly found in dogs, but your cats, rabbits and other pets are also at risk of contracting it.
Because western Pennsylvania has plenty of densely forested areas and no shortage of wildlife living right in our backyards, it is among the areas where Lyme disease is most prevalent. As the temperature climbs, larvae that have spent the winter months dormant grow into adults that can transmit Lyme disease through a bite. The tick must already be infected and remain attached for at least 48 hours for transmission of the bacteria to take place.
Once infected, animals may experience intermittent lameness, fever, swelling of joints, loss of appetite, swelling of lymph nodes and lethargy. In severe cases, animals may even experience an acute onset of renal failure. While the symptoms can be managed medically, there is no cure for Lyme disease. The single most important thing you can do for your pet is to provide preventatives. There are also vaccines that will protect your four-legged family members against Lyme disease. Although they won’t prevent the disease from taking hold entirely, they can help to lessen the symptoms if the bacteria is introduced.
Thankfully, Animal Friends offers Lyme vaccines and flea and tick preventative treatments through our Low-Cost Vaccine Clinics. Don’t wait until it’s too late! With a mild winter coming to a close, flea and tick season is expected to be more severe and arrive sooner. Protecting your pets now could save them (and you!) from a lot of pain and discomfort down the road – not to mention your vet bills!
Vaccine clinics are held at Animal Friends every other Thursday, with the next clinics taking place on April 6 and April 20 from 1-3 p.m. If you would like more information about tick prevention, Lyme disease and for a full schedule of Low-Cost Vaccine and Microchip Clinics, contact Animal Friends at 412-847-7004 or visit www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/Vaccine.