Tickborne illness now endemic in Northeast
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) - Tick cases are at record highs in the United States, with some diseases reaching endemic levels in the Northeast. Veterinarian Mike Dyer says this is something the community needs to be aware of.
“I hate to cause fear, but we need to be vigilant about tick protection, not only on pets, but people as well,” Dyer said.
“We’re in a location of the United States where tick migration has converged on our tri-state region,” Dyer said. “The deer tick or the black-legged tick that spreads Lyme disease is rampant.”
A big concern among health care providers lately is a disease called babesiosis: a blood disease in humans and animals. It can cause fever, chills, sweating and nausea.
“Ticks can carry that along with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,” Dyer said. “Then there’s the alpha-gal syndrome where humans can’t eat red meat after they’ve been exposed to a certain tick that’s created a reaction in their body. There’s been a huge increase in cases, not only in the number of ticks but even the little nymph stages, the tiny ticks that are hard to spot. We were finding those even in the winter months.”
Dyer says pet owners can be proactive about prevention for themselves and their pets, but you shouldn’t do it alone.
“I would encourage pet owners to talk to their veterinarians about getting that Lyme vaccine, and getting on a good flea and tick product,” Dyer said. “Don’t depend on the grocery store or the big box store for your flea and tick products; get the science from your veterinarian and decide what’s best for your pet.”
Dyer says you can also look out for excessive itching in your pet. If you hear them scratching during the night or they stop playing to scratch, those are indicators you should take your pet in.
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