While pet owners know that flea and tick control is necessary to prevent an infestation from taking over their households, some might not be aware of the impact parasites have on animal wellness. These insects don't just cause pets to scratch – they can also carry diseases and transmit them to their hosts, as well as the humans who own them.
Recently, NPR spoke to journalist Michael Specter about Lyme disease, which is carried by black-legged ticks in many areas of the country. Although the condition was identified nearly 30 years ago, medical experts are still working on finding efficient ways to diagnose the ailment today. Some people know that a red rash is a key symptom of Lyme disease, but it doesn't always show up on those who've been bitten by an infected tick.
"Twenty-five percent of those people who get bitten never have a rash, or sometimes never see it," Specter said on the NPR program, Fresh Air. "If you get bitten on the back of your head, you'll never see a bull's-eye rash."
Specter also warned that ticks can infect individuals with multiple bacteria – not just Lyme disease. In many instances, doctors fail to test for all of these potential ailments, leaving patients to cope with the symptoms over time.
Lyme disease in dogs
Dogs are prone to Lyme disease, just as their owners are, which stresses the importance of parasite maintenance. PetMD reported that some animals may begin to show signs of the disease by exhibiting lameness in some of their legs or swollen joints. Sensitivity to touch, lack of appetite and difficulty breathing are also associated with a Lyme disease infection in canines. However, pet owners can take matters into their own hands to ensure that their dogs never come into contact with infected fleas.
Products such as Hartz® UltraGuard Pro® Flea & Tick Treatment for Dogs and Puppies can keep fleas, ticks and mosquitoes away for up to 30 days. Animal owners can also be proactive by checking their own bodies and clothing for insects that may have attached themselves while outside. A combination of these methods can help make sure that dog and cat wellness is never compromised.
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