With the constantly increasing numbers of ticks in our area, it is only natural that Lyme disease is becoming more worrisome. Not only can this potentially fatal illness affect our furry family members, but it can impact human health as well. Wondering if you could catch it from your dog in the event a carrier tick bites them? Dogs cannot pass the disease along to other pets or people once infected. Lyme disease is not contagious. However, there is still some risk involving the connection between us and our pets, as they could carry an infected tick that could potentially fall off onto someone else and bite, passing along the illness. The best way to prevent this is to always check your pets over for any ticks, especially after returning from walks in wooded areas, tall grass, or camping trips, etc. Prompt, complete removal of any discovered ticks is key in limiting their chance to bite and transmit disease.
There are simple removal devices that are available at most veterinary clinics, which can make removal easy if the tick has already started to feed. If you’re not comfortable removing them at home, you can also call your veterinary clinic and bring your pet in to have the tick(s) removed. There are also some excellent products available for tick control on your pets, some of which kill the ticks quite quickly before they have a chance to transmit the Lyme bacterium. It is always best to consult with your veterinarian when choosing the right product, as there are some products in the retail market which can be harmful, especially to cats and children. Also, while the safe and effective products are excellent at protecting our pets, they don’t necessarily limit the risk to us humans, as the ticks can still potentially pass from our pets to us before these products have a chance to eliminate them. Again, this is where prompt removal is important for the safety of all involved.
Written by Amanda Conley, RVT