Deer Activity In Spring
White-tailed deer are most active during the spring season; and whether homeowners are gardeners or not, deer movement poses a serious health issue for family members and pets.
White-tailed deer are the most common carriers of ticks in the United States; and ticks carry tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and the Powassan Virus. When homeowners invite deer onto properties, they are allowing deer to drop ticks into backyards. The backyard is where pets and children play the most in the springtime; and this is where they will be most at risk for tick infection.
Children and pets are just as likely to transmit Lyme as adults. Dogs with symptoms of Lyme will experience weak muscles; excessive drooling and lethargy. The dog Lyme symptoms can last for several weeks or months. Cats, on the other hand, will experience lameness for only a few days!
In order to keep our pets and family members safe, it makes sense that we need to incorporate deer management into our planning this spring. Homeowners are encouraged to build a fence to keep out wildlife. (Homeowners will need to build a 7.5-8' high fence for deer exclusion.)
Lyme Disease In Cats
It's true, pets can get tick-borne illnesses from deer and other wildlife just like humans; but dogs and cats experience the effects of a tick bite differently than we do.
For starters, symptoms of Lyme Disease do not occur all at once. The red, 'Bulls-eye' rash that humans sometimes experience does not happen with dogs and cats. For dogs, they may shake their heads constantly; have a high fever; become lazy; and have unexplained scabs. But, for cats, these symptoms do not occur.
Cats handle Lyme Disease much better than both humans and dogs. Cats rarely develop heart or nervous system diseases; but instead, they develop kidney conditions quite often. Many cats with Lyme Disease do not exhibit systems outside of acute lameness. The signs of Lyme Disease in cats do not occur for several days or weeks; but they only last for three to four days! Cat Lyme Disease signs may have an impact on legs and joints but can be treated with antibiotics.
Grooming cats regularly, and checking them for ticks after outdoor play time, is essential for animal health. If your cat experiences a tick bite, remove the tick; and take the cat to the vet for testing.