This summer might seem a little different, but one thing remains the same—ticks are out and are very active! This past winter was extremely mild, and you might be seeing more ticks than usual this season. We don’t want to risk any co-infections with COVID-19 and Lyme disease, but another thing to remember is Lyme disease symptoms could be mistaken for those associated with COVID-19. Lyme disease shares a few of the same symptoms as the virus, including fever, achiness and chills. If you mistake Lyme disease for COVID-19, you could delay necessary medical treatment, which could lead to more severe symptoms.
While you are all out exercising and hiking during the next several months, remember that unlike like us, ticks are not adhering to the “social distancing rules”—and we have to remember to keep our pets safe, too. Ticks are very tiny, therefore they can be easy to miss and are sometimes latched on for days before we come across them. Both cats and dogs can be infected with Lyme disease, and cats are especially vulnerable to tularemia, haemo-bartonellosis and babesiosis. Dogs, similar to people, can contract rocky mountain spotted fever, hepatozoonosis, which is contracted by eating an infected tick, and more.
When performing a tick check, always inspect your pet’s head, neck, feet, in-between toes, armpits and ears very closely. When walking your pets, stay away from forests, wooded areas, leaf litter and tall grasses. Always groom your pets carefully and remember to check yourself after you check your pets, as ticks may climb onto you very easily when looking for a meal. Remember to spray monthly between the months of April and November to help limit the amount of ticks on your property.
Another way to reduce risk for your pets is to consider installing an invisible fence, which limits the area a dog can roam, but defines where we can spray thoroughly. Spraying alone will not keep ticks off your pets, ask your vet a tick control product such as Frontline or Advantix.
If you do find a tick on your pet, grab a pair of tweezers and remove the tick carefully by pulling on its head with tweezers. Lastly, after four to six weeks, take your pet for a screening, and remember to always keep an eye out for symptoms.
Brian Kelly is the president of East End Tick & Mosquito Control. Learn more about tick safety at tickcontrol.com.