A few weeks ago the NYC department of Health issued an advisory regarding an increase in the number of patients with tick-borne diseases. Due to a rise in the number of ticks this year, it’s expected that there will be a rise in the number of cases of Lyme disease in both humans and their pets.
As a proactive measure, NYC officials stated that they would be tripling the number of tick surveillance sites so they can monitor the population and prevalence of diseases. While officials say that most reported cases trace their infection to areas surrounding New York City, taking your dog on a nice walk through one of our beautiful NYC parks could be placing them in a hot-zone.
Preventing Lyme Disease
The best defense against Lyme or any other tick-borne illness is prevention. You’ve probably heard that you can best protect yourself by covering with light clothing and spraying bug repellent. But, these are not practical options for our pets. Both cats and dogs can become infected with Lyme disease, but in our neck of the woods, most cats are protected just because they stay indoors. There are many tick prevention products available for your dogs and if you have a dog and cat remember ticks will travel from one furry friend to another.
Regardless of any precautions taken, it’s important to always inspect yourself, your children and your pets as soon as you return from a jaunt in any tick friendly area. If ticks are found it’s important to remove them immediately, but more importantly to do it properly. Be sure to watch an educational video if you’ve never removed a tick before.
“We saw the alert and held a refresher seminar for our entire staff about diagnosing and treating Lyme and other tick-borne diseases,” states Dr. Kyoto Yoshida of Hudson Animal Hospital in NYC. “There are many green spaces here in the upper west side and our clientele likes to take advantage of all of them. Because we were told this could be an especially bad year, we have advised all of our clients about prevention options and early symptoms.”
In the event Lyme disease is contracted, the key to full recovery is early detection – in humans and their pets. Keep an eye out for the bullseye skin rash and/or flu like symptoms in humans. Symptoms in dogs are a little different and usually include joint involvement. Dr. Kyoko has written an article with more information.
So, after tromping through the high grass in the park or visiting friends in Staten Island, remember to inspect for ticks and remove any immediately. The veterinarians in New York City are on alert for symptoms, so have your pet checked if you’ve removed a tick and/or they have suspicious symptoms.