Unfortunately, there are already many ticks out and about this spring. I found one on my cat who had already had Frontline applied three weeks ago. Make sure you and your pets are treated with insect repellent. After being outside, look at your skin and the skin of your pet to make sure you do not bring any ticks into the house.
Each year, many people and animals suffer from Lyme’s disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. A tick has to be attached for 24 hours before the diseases are transmitted.
Lyme disease symptoms include headache, stiff neck, muscle aches, low grade fever, chills and fatigue. These can develop in a few days or may take longer.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever symptoms occur from two to 14 days. Symptoms are fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, lack of appetite, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). It can be fatal within eight days if not treated appropriately. Abdominal pain can be so severe that appendectomies have been performed only to find a normal appendix. Early treatment with doxycycline saves lives.
Your physician can do blood work to check for current or past infections with either of these infections. A vaccine was on the market about 15 years ago for Lyme’s disease, and because they did not sell enough doses, the vaccine was removed from market and has not come back onto the market.
Talk to your veterinarian immediately if your pet shows signs of illness. Your pet needs immediate treatment, as well. Check with your veterinarian on the safest insect repellent for your pet.
Check your skin every 24 hours.
Gay Fulkerson, MD, is a board certified family physician and wound care/hyperbaric specialist.