Because of what I do (veterinarian) and where I live (Atlantic Canada), I spend a good deal of time talking ticks and Lyme disease. I try pretty hard to keep these conversations focused on dogs and cats, since I am not (and have no wish to be) a human health care provider. However, in our increasingly ‘one health’ world the discussion frequently (and inevitably) turns to the humans in room and their concerns about ticks and tick transmitted diseases- the big one being Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is scary for people- and no-one (including me) wants their dog, child, family member or themselves to become ill. However, for every moment I spend talking about Lyme disease I am thinking about how I can turn the conversation into one about tick prevention- for dogs, cats, humans and particularly kids. Children happen to be at highest risk for human Lyme disease- and that’s not too surprising considering their behavior and activity level is pretty similar to a puppy/dog. Kids and dogs are smaller and lower to the ground (i.e. near brush or shrubs where ticks like to hang out), much more active than human adults, less likely to stay on established walking paths and trails and a heck of a lot more curious about creepy crawly things that move- or at least this is true for my own kids.
That's why as a parent, dog-owner and veterinarian I was thrilled to see the recent kid and parent friendly tick prevention videos by the BC Center for Disease Control, entitled Tick Talk.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease (and other tick-borne disease concerns) in dogs and in people (the big and the little versions) is by removing ticks promptly and safely- and that starts with looking for them and knowing what to do when you find them.
June 11, 2018
Michelle Evason, DVM, BSc, DACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine)