As warm weather approaches, so does the threat of ticks carrying parasites.
That means Lyme disease, folks.
And Lyme disease is no longer something you have to worry about only if you live in the Northeastern United States. The disease has been expanding into other parts of the country as the tick population moves into new habitats.
Researchers at Clemson University and the University of Georgia have completed a Lyme disease forecast map for 2017 that shows the most likely affected areas of the United States. The goal is better patient care by veterinarians and physicians.
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Symptoms of Lyme disease include fatigue, fever, throbbing muscles and joints, and flulike symptoms. It can take up to 5 months for a dog to show symptoms (for humans, only 5-30 days). The disease can cause long-term problems of the heart, central nervous system and muscles.
If you suspect your pet has contracted the disease, seek medical treatment right away.
Awareness is the key to getting this disease under control. This is “a call to action for people to protect their dogs and for veterinarians to engage in conversations with their clients about risks to their pets and options for prevention, including vaccination and tick preventatives,” says Dr. Craig Prior, BVSc, president of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), which conceptualized the research.
Here are some additional highlights from CAPC:
- Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh are of elevated concern: Lyme disease is now endemic in these regions and is forecasted to be even more problematic this year.
- New York State, northwestern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota, already endemic for Lyme disease, are expected to observe higher caseloads than in previous years.
- Lyme disease along the Atlantic seaboard (I-95 corridor) from Washington, D.C. to Boston is forecasted to remain static this year.