May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month! As the weather gets warmer, and we are spending more time outside with our pets, it is important to take preventative measures against Lyme Disease, caused by the bacteria carried in many deer ticks. The first step is knowing the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease to protect your family and catch it early if you or your pet do contract the disease.
One of our EPF team members, Cassidy, suffers from chronic Lyme Disease and has firsthand knowledge and experience to share so that you can be more cautious when going outside and/or taking your pets outside.
Hearing her story may scare you, but it is important to be aware of the serious symptoms Lyme may cause. She emphasized that she does not live her life trapped indoors in fear, but rather spends the extra time to be safe and mindful when going outdoors! And you should too!
Can you give a brief overview of how you got Lyme?
Tick Bite—I did not get the bulls-eye rash, which is a common indicator of a tick bite.
What are the best practices you would recommend to prevent Lyme Disease in pets and humans?
Ticks are everywhere! Even in cold months, they are still around. It is best to get your dog treated for Lyme all year round (they even have a Lyme vaccine now for dogs). They also offer tick deterrent sprays for dogs that are safe to spray directly on their fur. If you are going on a hike, spray up!
This goes for humans too, spray clothes with insect repellent with the main ingredient as DEET. Cover up! Wear jeans, socks, and long sleeves if you can before going on your next outdoor adventure.
Above all else, just keep ticks in mind. Have someone check your hair, clothes, etc. after being outside and feel for bumps. You can check your dog too!
What symptoms do you experience and what are other common symptoms of Lyme in pets and humans?
For dogs, it is primarily joint pain that can cause lameness. Your dog might seem very fatigued and lose its appetite. If untreated or caught too late, it could lead to more serious complications.
For humans, every person is affected in diverse ways. For me, I experienced inflamed joints causing immobility, depression/anxiety, headaches/migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, severe fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, loss of appetite, brain fog, muscle/ nerve pains, swollen glands around neck, shoulders, arms, digestive issues, and the list goes on.
Any other helpful information to share with pet owners?
Take ticks seriously! Your dog/cats are family, protect them, like you would yourself!
Considering a fenced in area for your pets will prevent them from escaping to thickly wooded areas where ticks may be more prevalent. That’s where we have you covered. Check out our dog and cat fence kits to keep your pets contained to your yard and safe from tick bites. Many of our fence systems keep out deer as well, ultimately preventing deer ticks from traveling to your property.