May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

With summer approaching, accompanied with its increasing heat and humidity, we often find ourselves spending more time outdoors. Our dogs and outdoor cats may also seek the comfort of cooler places protected from the sun blazing overhead, spending time in tall grasses or in piles of raked leaves behind the house.

While the great outdoors is not only inviting to us but also our pets, there can be some nasty pests lingering in the bushes, on the grass, trees and other inviting areas. Since May has been set aside as National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, this is an excellent time for folks to take necessary precautions to protect not only our beloved pets, but the entire family as well. Lyme Disease can affect both pets and humans, so it is very important to learn about this potentially devastating disease and ways in which it may be avoided.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the bite of an infected tick. Although not every tick carries the Lyme bacteria, caution must be exercised, especially in tick-infested areas. Not so long ago, Lyme disease was considered only rampant in Lyme “endemic” areas, however this nasty and complicated disease may be found throughout the entire United States and Europe. Additionally, ticks carry a wide variety of other serious bacterial infections.

So, what can we do to protect our pets from being infected with disease? Here are a few simple suggestions. There is a Lyme disease vaccine available for dogs. Unfortunately, at this time there is no vaccine developed for cats.

Check with your vet about the most efficient prescription topical tick species appropriate repellents and protective products. Although slightly more costly than over-the-counter products, prescription varieties are considered much safer.

Since ticks thrive in high grasses, keep your lawns mowed short particularly in areas in which your pets spend time. Make sure that any pesticides you are using are pet-safe.

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