Posts Tagged protect your yard against ticks

Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Earlier this week one of my coworkers had to take her dog, Belle, to the vet for a routine checkup. While testing Belle’s blood for her annual heartworm test, the vet ran tests for Lyme and Ehrlichiosis because of the high number of ticks this season. While Belle wasn’t displaying any symptoms of a tick-borne illness, tests showed that she did indeed have Ehrlichiosis. Luckily, Belle is on her way to a full recovery through a series of antibiotics.

Brown Dog Ticks like this one are Vectors for Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to dogs through the bite of brown dog ticks. Brown dog ticks are present throughout the United States and primarily feed on dogs, but do sometimes bite people. Unlike other ticks, they are commonly found indoors hiding in cracks, under rugs and furniture and on walls. Brown dog ticks are often called kennel ticks because they were commonly found in kennels across the U.S.

Once infected with Ehrlichiosis, there are three phases of the disease. The first, the acute state, starts a few weeks after transmission and lasts for up to a month. While some dogs may have lower blood counts during this time, the most common symptom is fever.

The second phase is called the subclinical phase and has no outward symptoms. In many cases, dogs stay in this phase for years, if not the rest of their life. While they are infected with the bacteria, they show no outward signs and some canines are able to successfully fight off the disease.

The third and most serious phase of Ehrlichiosis is the chronic stage. Dogs in the chronic phase will show symptoms including, weight loss, pale gums, lameness and coughing. In rare cases, when the dog doesn’t respond to treatment, Ehrlichiosis can be fatal.

Belle’s vet told my coworker that this year, as compared to the past, has brought a higher number of Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis diagnoses in canines. While dogs respond well to treatment for both diseases, the best way to protect your furry friend from becoming ill is to protect them against tick bites. Topical tick medication will kill (and sometimes repel depending on your brand) ticks when they bite your dog. If you want added protection, try tick control in your yard. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray and tick tubes will get to the ticks, before they get to our dogs. Contact your local Squad if you want to learn more about our tick control options.

If you are worried that your dog may have contracted a tick-borne disease, make sure to ask your vet to do a blood test on your next visit.

And just because no dog post is complete without a picture of a dog and I don’t have a picture of Belle, here’s one of Wiley and his big ears.

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Do Acorns Affect Lyme disease?

Before I get into acorns and Lyme disease, I want to rewind to the fall of 2010 and the war that occurred in my yard. My husband and I have several large oak trees on our property that always brings us hours of raking; however, in 2010 something very different happened. Acorns happened.  It was like a war zone. They’d fall on your head when you were walking out to your car. They would fall on the house all the time scaring the dog (he’s a baby). And then we had to rake them up on top of all the leaves (and pull them out of the ground in the case of when they’ve already begun to root).

My husband and I discussed multiple times how bad the acorns were that year. Now news is coming out that yes, 2010 was a big year for acorns and that it played a role in the increase of Lyme disease. According to ARA content

“oak trees produced an extremely high number of acorns in 2010, which led to an increase in the white-footed mouse population in 2011. In turn, the deer tick (or black-legged tick), had ample supply of its preferred food source. As a result, you may spot more of the most common tick in the mid-Atlantic.” Source.

In an earlier post this year, we talked about how ticks seem to be more abundant this year as compared to years past. Lyme disease numbers are reported to be growing as well. Lyme disease is easily recognized by the large bulls eye rash that sometimes appears after infection, but a rash is not always present. Other symptoms include fatigue, achy joints and headaches. It’s important to tell your doctor if you have recently been bitten by a tick and are experiencing these symptoms as they are often confused for other illnesses.

The use of proper tick control can cut down on the number of ticks in a specific area. At Mosquito Squad, in addition to our mosquito control barrier spray that kills adult ticks on contact, we use tick tubes to reduce their population. The tick tubes are filled with treated cotton that mice take back to their nests. Mice are the first blood meal for many ticks, so when the mouse is covered with the tick toxicant it kills the tick when it bites.

If you are interested in learning more about protecting your yard against ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad.

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