GREENSBORO, NC -- The North Carolina State Health Department warned after a mild winter and wet spring, this year could be one of the worst on record for ticks. That means both people and their beloved pets are at risk of tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme Disease.
So, is there an uptick in pet Lyme Disease this year? Are there effective ways to prevent it?
To verify those questions, we went to two credible sources -- Janinne Oliver, DVM from Benessere Veterinary Hospital in Greensboro and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).
The AVMF says Lyme Disease is transmitted to pets the same way it's transmitted to humans -- through ticks. Symptoms can include a fever, loss of appetite, increased urination and lethargy. But, pets might not show symptoms for two to five months, and it's hard to tell if some pets are even sick.
"Although inside they're feeling bad, they'll hide it because they don't want to bring any prey down on their pack. They're trying to pretend until they can't pretend anymore," Dr. Oliver said.
She confirmed there are more pets this year than last who are coming into the clinic with Lyme Disease or Lyme symptoms. So, her staff is testing more for Lyme through a blood test. Untreated Lyme can lead to kidney failure or worse, and prevention is key.
"The number one way is to check your dog like when they've come in from the outside. Check them all over. Some dogs have a short coat or light coat -- easier to find. But, dogs with a dark coat or long coat -- really hard to find," Dr. Oliver said.
That's why annual veterinary exams are crucial. Dr. Oliver also recommends year-round flee and tick prevention, and there are both modern medicine and natural options.
We can verify the claim of an uptick in pet Lyme Disease is true. Most importantly, we can also verify there are effective ways to prevent pet Lyme Disease.