As warm spring and summer temperatures begin to lure us outside, increased outdoor exposure is leaving both man and his best friend more susceptible to ticks and the diseases they bring with them.
Found commonly in wooded and grassy areas, ticks are mostly seen in early spring and late fall each year; however, your dog can get ticks all season long.
Because ticks in Minnesota can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and the similar anaplasmosis, it is important to take the appropriate preventative steps.
“The most common signs of Lyme disease we see are limping and a lack of energy,” said Sue Lowum, D.V.M., assistant clinical professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota , who specializes in preventative medicine for cats and dogs, and sees many cases of Lyme disease each year.
“If you dog is going to be in an area known for Lyme disease we recommend vaccinating it,” said Lowum, adding that these areas include most counties in Wisconsin and Northern Minnesota.
A monthly flea and tick preventative available from your veterinarian is recommended for use year-round, as is avoiding wooded, grassy areas and clearing leaves and brush from you backyard to help eliminate a potential tick home.
With flee and tick preventatives, Lowum cautions owners to be careful. Some are meant only for dogs and should never be used for cats. It is also important to wait 24 hours to bathe your pet after applying the preventative.
“If your dog exhibits signs of Lyme disease, call your veterinarian,” said Lowum. “Lyme disease is treatable and dogs respond well in most cases.”