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naturalpet TICKS TACKLING by Dr. Mark Newkirk


they’re back with a vengeance come warmer weather and plague parts of the south all year round. Many species of ticks can carry disease. From the more common Lyme, Erlichia and Rocky Moun- tain spotted fever to tick paralysis and Anaplas-


N


mosis, these bugs are bad


news. Some diseases are species specific, but some, like Lyme disease, can infect deer, dogs and humans. Cats seem to be resistant to many tick diseases like Erlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever; although why this is so remains largely a mystery.


Lyme Disease


Dogs are 50 percent more likely to contract Lyme disease as humans. If left untreated it can cause seri- ous, debilitating problems. Symptoms affecting joints and organs may be hidden in the


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o one likes ticks (except the birds that love to eat them), but like fleas and cockroaches, ticks are a fact of life. After a winter break in the northern states,


early stages of the disease, so it’s important to have a dog tested every year and anytime the guardian suspects the dog has been exposed to ticks. The disease has been reported in every state. The good news is that Lyme disease cannot be transmit- ted directly from a pet to family members. If ticks are typical- ly found in an area, it’s wise to reduce the risk by inspecting canines and people several times a day when enjoying out- door activities. An excellent vaccine exists for pets, although not for humans.


Ehrlichiosis


The second most common infectious disease in the United States, this potentially life threatening menace is spreading, carried by several common dog ticks. The parasite attacks the blood cells, rather than the joints. Intermittent fever and leth- argy (which can signal various illnesses) are the main signs. The disease can result in permanent disability or death. While there are no proven cases of direct transmission


of the Ehrlichiosis parasite from dogs to people, ticks can transmit it directly to people. A simple in-office blood test can determine if a pet has this disease; blood screen- ing will often show a de- creased platelet count.


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