Both dogs and humans are becoming more susceptible to tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, in the United States, the number of reported cases of the disease has increased from approximately 12,000 cases in 1995 to 35,000 cases in 2019. However, this may not represent the true number of human infections as many cases are not reported. The CDC estimates the actual number of human infections is closer to 476,000 per year.
The bacterial infection known as Lyme disease is typically spread by ticks that have been infected with the disease. These ticks can attach themselves to any part of the body, so it’s crucial to examine pets frequently to ensure they are tick-free – especially in areas like their collar region, eyelids, ears, tail and underneath their legs. On humans, ticks tend to be found most commonly in moist or hairy parts of the body like the groin area, armpits and scalp. As for who is at greatest risk of being bitten by a tick carrying Lyme disease? People who spend time outdoors in grassy or wooded areas like gardeners, hikers and campers should take extra care!
A thriving deer population provides ticks with important blood sources, increasing the chances that people will come into contact with ticks that carry Lyme disease. It is usually 36 to 48 hours after a tick has attached that the Lyme disease bacterium will be transmitted to a person. In the summer months, when ticks are most active, tick bites are more common, but tick exposure can occur at any time.
Several precautions are recommended by the CDC to prevent Lyme disease, including avoiding wooded, brushy, and grassy areas, wearing light-colored clothes, treating clothing and gear with permethrin, applying insect repellents, wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, tucking pants into socks or shoes, and checking yourself for ticks after outdoor activities. In the US, Lyme disease vaccines are not available.
Early manifestations of Lyme disease encompass muscle and joint discomfort, headache, fever, chills, exhaustion, and inflamed lymph nodes. In addition to these symptoms, a skin rash called “Erythema migrans” may emerge. Progressed indications might entail irregular heartbeat or palpitations, arthritis, and anomalies in the nervous system. Neglecting treatment may result in the spread of Lyme disease to joints, heart muscles as well as the nervous system leading to irreparable harm. While fatalities linked with this condition are rare; it can transform into a long-term condition where signs persist for extended periods after initial tick exposure.
The symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include swollen joints and lameness, fever, and fatigue. Owners should regularly check their pets for ticks and consult a veterinarian if they suspect they may be infected. The risk of contracting Lyme disease in humans and dogs can be reduced by taking measures to prevent tick bites and checking for ticks on a regular basis.