, Newburyport, MA


July 12, 2013

Keeping ticks off your pets

Experts are predicting an extremely high threat of Lyme disease this year. This warning was developed by the same group of statisticians that are responsible for forecasting severe weather. The Northeast is the largest problem area, and Massachusetts is the bull’s-eye for this highlighted region.

It seems as though everyone has heard of Lyme disease. This debilitating illness is just the tip of the iceberg for tick-borne disease.

The Newburyport area has a reputation for ticks galore. Our popular friend, the deer tick, is high on this list. American dog ticks and the increasingly more common lone star tick are runners-up.

Each species of tick has its repertoire of transmissible diseases. In Essex County, Lyme disease is the most common, with 1 in 6 dogs testing positive. Anaplasma is a close second, accounting for more than 20 percent of canine anaplasmosis in the country. Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia continue the list.

Ticks spread illness by attaching to animals (or humans) and feeding. As it sucks blood, the tick’s body concentrates the nutritious components and spits water back into the animal. If the tick is carrying bacteria, such as for Lyme disease, this tick spit will also infect its host.

Tick diseases are not spread directly from dog to person or vice versa. Protecting your pet and family from tick-transmitted disease means you have to prevent ticks from attaching.

Although a vaccine is available to help prevent Lyme disease in dogs, other tick diseases can only be avoided by keeping the tick from attaching to your pet.

Try to avoid tick-infested areas. Wooded trails are frequently visited by common tick hosts, such as rodents, chipmunks, raccoons, coyotes and white-tailed deer. However, the list of hosts is almost endless, as virtually any mammal or bird can be a tick host, depending on the tick species and its life stage.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Special Features