Lyme Disease: Keep yourself, your pet safe this summer

By RENNIE COOK

Deer tick aka Blacklegged tick aka Lxodes Scapularis

As Wisconsin weather warms and residents  begin to venture out of their homes to enjoy the many beaches and parks that Milwaukee County has to  offer, few realize that they and their furry companions are in danger.

Deer ticks can carry Lyme disease and thrive in warm weather. These tiny creatures travel long distances and infest backyards in rural and urban
locations alike.

According to dog owner Kimberly Stanton, her 5-year-old morkie, Mascot, was taken into the vet on March 5, 2012, checked for Lyme disease and cleared for plane travel. The vet said his test results were negative. On March 12, he arrived in Biloxi, Miss., from Milwaukee.

On March 16, he lost balance, and Stanton’s sister, who was caring for him at the time, could tell something was wrong. She took him into her local animal hospital and discovered his kidneys were failing (working only at 15 percent) and he was dying.

“He died from Lyme disease, due to kidney failure, March 19,” Stanton said.

Areas affected by Lyme disease:

  • Skin
  • Nervous system
  • Heart
  • Joints

Symptoms:

  • A bull’s-eye-shaped rash
  • Fever
  • Head/body aches
  • Tiredness. ++

Ways  to keep safe this summer:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and high socks in wooded areas.
  • Use insect repellents containing 20-30% DEET while following the instructions for use. ++

94% of cases reported from 12 states in 2010:

  1. Connecticut
  2. New Jersey
  3. Delaware
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Maine
  6. New York
  7. Maryland
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Virginia
  11. Minnesota
  12. Wisconsin

Facts about Lyme Disease:

  • Before being able to transmit Lyme disease to humans, an infected nymph or female adult deer tick must be attached to the skin and feeding for a minimum of 24 hours.+
  • A female tick can lay up to 3,000 eggs. +
  • Pets can be vaccinated against Lyme disease.  Humans can not! ++
  • Since 1980, more than 20,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in Wisconsin, spanning both rural and urban locations. ++
  • The average life span of the deer tick is 2 years! +

+ American Lyme Disease Foundation
++ Wisconsin Department of Health

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