How to keep your pet safe this tick season

HAMPTON ROADS Va- Dr. Randall Fisher CHKD Infectious Disease specialist talks ticks and the lyme disease that can follow

HAMPTON ROADS Va- Dr. Randall Fisher CHKD Infectious Disease specialist talks ticks and the lyme disease that can follow

May kicked off what is known as tick season, and here in Pennsylvania the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say tick-borne illnesses are drastically increasing. Ticks can carry the organisms that cause diseases like Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. "You may unknowingly be going in an area that has high rates of Lyme disease and if your pet is unprotected, they stand a very high likelihood of developing lime disease".

Of the approximately 40 species of tick in Canada, only a few can infect humans with Lyme (e.g. the blacklegged tick), but this does not mean the risk is low if you regularly spend time running through nature. The good news is it's treatable with an antibiotic at the beginning stages.

"[The chipmuck and mice] come up close to peoples decks, yards, running around and that's the way the ticks can be invited in", she said. They suggested wearing light coloured long-sleeved shirts and long trousers and to spray a repellent containing deet around your wrists and ankles. Once a tick has attached itself onto an individual it takes 36 to 48 hours before an infection can spread.

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There are various strains, and diagnosis can be tricky, because the list of possible symptoms is long and varied. Ticks typically don't live out in the open but more-so where your yard might borders a wooded area or if you have gardens and shrubs your pets get into.

Bennett says cover up and avoid walking in tall grass.

Awareness is also important for treating these diseases. Take a hot shower with soap as soon as possible afterwards.

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"So, if you get a amusing rash on your body, you should be seeking advice about that from your doctor". Clean the bite area with soap and water and treat with antiseptic.

Making sure your pet has regular Lyme disease vaccinations is key in preventing Lyme disease.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease usually occur within one to two weeks after a tick bite, but can occur as soon as three days or as long as a month after a bite.

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Do not try to burn the tick off, smother it with Vaseline or pull it off with your fingers.

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