While perusing the latest items in the world of animal and people health
Hey all. Well, we are on a roll with another week gone by already. Can you believe that January is already more than half over? Neither can I. Before I know it, another year will have passed. So, without further ado, onward and forward…
Okay, while perusing the latest items in the world of animal and people health, I have been reminded multiple times while reading about tick borne illnesses. So I would like to touch on a few items regarding ticks in general. First off, we are in the middle, nay the high point, of tick season in Marin County. In general, we see the increase in tick activity start around the first cold weather (just after Halloween, which is appropriate for these blood sucking parasites to become more alive) and continues to around the end of May, when it is warmer, hotter and drier. But ticks are also year round around here, just slower in activity. With these creatures, we also find that our pets and us (you and me) become exposed to some of the nasty diseases that they carry.
Currently the big one that has devastating effects on our pet’s care givers, i.e., YOU, is Lyme Disease. Make no mistake. It IS here in Marin. It can affect you terribly. It is very difficult to eradicate from your system, especially if not diagnosed quickly enough. In dogs, we test annually for Heartworm disease. Along with this test, we also test for three (3) other tick borne diseases: Anaplasmosis (2 varients), Ehrlichiosis (2 varients) and Lyme Disease.
These tests are screening tests, so if your pet comes up positive, further testing may and will be needed to determine severity of infection. In some cases, nothing more need be done, but many times, long term antibiotics and retesting will be necessary for the health and well-being of your pet. This brings me to another aspect in this weeks blog. Apparently, researchers have found a “new” disease carried by deer ticks. It appears that it is currently only in the New England and New York areas and has many characteristics that are Lyme-like and also has undulating fevers. You can read this article here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/usa-health-ticks-idUSL1E9CHFZF20130117.
Now, even though it is currently on in the Northeastern part of our country, diseases like this travel and I expect to hear about it from my clients probably in the next couple of years. I will keep you all in the loop as I read up on this and you keep getting your animals tested annually to screen potential carriers and infected pets at a minimum.
For those of you that take your dogs in the hills, or are abutted against open space or, heck you have dear eating your plants and roses, consider having your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease. The vaccine works and can be very helpful in preventing any future adverse effects that Lyme disease can cause.
So, my next blog will be up next week. Stay tuned and let me know what you think. Have a great week and stay warm.