Local Veterinarians Express Tick Prevention as Temperatures Rise

A Yearly, Preventative Lyme Disease Vaccination is Available for Animals

DULUTH, Minn. – With warmer days frequently popping up in the forecast many of us will be spending countless hours soaking up the sun and heading out for walks with our four legged friends.

While this sounds much needed and well deserved, it’s important to remember it’s also time for ticks to wake up and latch on.

“We’ve found them in between the paw pads, they go wherever they want,” said Lisa Wenholz with North Shore Veterinary Hospital in Duluth.

They’re creepy and they craw, appearing almost invisible until it’s too late.

“Those ticks can go anywhere, and if it’s hard for humans to find a tick, imagine looking on your dog,” said Wenholz.

Wenholz understands how important it is to get out and enjoy sunshine, but expresses safety first.

“We sometimes get some really warm days in the winter, really warm meaning above freezing, and ticks wake up and they carry lyme, anaplasmosis or ehrlichiosis with them. It doesn’t die out so when they wake up they’re ready to chomp and ready to spread that to us and our pets,” said Wenholz.

She wants pet owners to practice year round prevention.

“Even in town here, we have rabbits coming in to our yards and squirrels year round that carry ticks,” said Wenholz.

But for those who choose to select seasonal prevention, she says it’s best to start during the month of April.

“We’re in contact; we’re going in the woods much more,” said Wenholz. “How fast a product will kill ticks is important because ticks can transmit a disease in as little as three to six hours.”

For prevention against lyme disease, experts advise a routine topical solution, a pill or even a special collar for your animal.

“None of these things are 100 percent so you need to do it in stages,” said Wenholz.

Aside from over-the-counter prevention, a yearly lyme disease vaccination is now available for pets with a clean bill of health.

“The company that we use, they stand behind their product 100 percent,” said Wenholz. “When the tick bites, it spews the bacteria into the system and if you have been vaccinated, you have antibodies toward it.”

While she warns animal owners to plan for the worst, Wenholz says the best prevention possible is simply looking over your animal after spending anytime outdoors.

For pet owners interested in obtaining the yearly lyme disease vaccination, a routine checkup with the veterinarian will likely be mandatory before the animal can receive the immunization.

On average, the vaccination costs roughly $35 dollars.

Click here for more information or to contact North Shore Veterinary Hospital.

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