May 13, 2020

Lyme in the Time of COVID

Author: Jennifer Houghton

I confess the title is a little bit cheesy and is an English major homage to a famous work of literature, but the topic of Lyme disease is a serious one if you have pets.

As we enter into warmer weather and remain restricted to social distancing protocols, many folks are finding it easier to separate themselves from other people by spending time walking in nature. And what walk is complete without your furry friend? 

I believe that Lyme disease has the potential to crop up more readily this year. Obviously I have no medical statistics to back this up. But I suggest it because of the efforts of individuals to steer clear of other people and the continued weird weather. For example, remember how Halloween was filled with snow and Christmas was around 50 degrees? Ticks abound. 

Additionally as social distancing pushes people into locations such as parks and other areas that allow for room to keep appropriate distance between each other, ticks have an opportunity to drop from a blade of grass onto your pet. Or just as bad, on to you. 

What Can I Do?

We highly encourage you to treat your pet with the product of your choice. There are standard options and holistic. The most important protocol is simply to apply them, whatever they happen to be. The veterinarian would recommend usage all year because of the temperature fluctuations. Finally, I would personally recommend getting the blood panel at your pet’s annual (or biannual, for seniors) physical that includes the tick borne disease testing.

As the former pet parent of a dog that developed cancer, I always purchase the complete blood panel that the veterinarian typically runs on seniors. It may not necessarily catch every possible disease, but I feel more confident knowing that I have complete counts and functions. I can compare each year in case something starts to slowly change that I might have missed by waiting until they turn 7 to being testing fully. 

Keep your pet out of tall grass. Treat them (and yourself) with tick repellant. Keep your distance from other humans as we continue to social distance in the Chicagoland area in the month of May. Stay healthy!

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