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Lyme Disease: Seven Myths You Should Know


It is important to understand the risks your pet faces when it comes to ticks. Common misconceptions can lead pet owners to avoid the right preventative measures needed to protect beloved pets from Lyme disease.

 

Here are a few persistent myths dispelled:


Myth 1: I don't live in a wooded area, so my pet can't get ticks

Even if your pet doesn't play in wooded areas or places with high grass or brush (where ticks are commonly found), ticks are actually able to live their entire life cycle within your home. Woodpiles near or inside your home provide the perfect environment for ticks to survive. Small rodents such as mice can also transport the ticks indoors. Even if ticks don't make their way into your home, they can still live in low grass and trees such as the backyards of most suburban homes.

 

Myth 2: I haven't seen any ticks on my pets, so they aren't at risk

Often, ticks are only easily visible on your pets once they're engorged, and the tick's life cycle includes the larva and nymph stages, where they're not as easily noticed. Even when adult ticks have been removed, they may have already laid eggs on your pets, continuing the tick infestation.


Myth 3: I've only found a few ticks on my pet, so I'm sure he's fine

You can be diligent about checking for and removing ticks, but it still only takes one tick bite for a pet to contract Lyme disease. When you find ticks on your pet, there's a good chance the pet has had other ticks that you have missed.


Myth 4: I apply a flea and tick preventive to my pet monthly, so I don't need to worry about Lyme disease

No prevention medication is 100% effective. Talk to us about your pet's habits and environment, and we can discuss whether you need to take additional steps to prevent Lyme disease.


Myth 5: During the colder seasons, I don't need to worry about applying flea and tick prevention

Because most insect populations decrease once cold weather sets in, you might assume ticks will follow suit. In reality, ticks are much hardier, and their population can actually increase during the fall season. Ticks can also survive through the entire winter even when frozen in the ground. For the best protection, continuously apply preventives throughout the year, including the colder months.


Myth 6: My pet was treated for Lyme disease, so now she's cured

Once your pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease, an antibiotic is usually prescribed. Do not assume that once the antibiotic course is finished, the Lyme disease is cured and your pet is no longer at risk of experiencing Lyme disease symptoms. It can take multiple courses of an antibiotic to successfully treat Lyme disease. Any pet diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease should be routinely screened for tick-borne diseases every year.


Myth 7: My pet has already contracted Lyme disease, so he can't receive a Lyme disease vaccination

Pets that have been treated for Lyme disease run the risk of reinfection, so it's important to continue applying preventives and check pets for ticks. Another preventive measure is to have your dog vaccinated against Lyme disease. Although there are more benefits to giving the vaccine before exposure occurs, the vaccination will help prevent reinfection.