Lurking in Tall Grass, a Hidden Danger Awaits

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Hiking in the woods is a fun activity for many people, and it increases in popularity when the seasons begin to beautifully change. But being outdoors brings with it an increased risk of tick-borne illnesses. Different species in different regions of the country are responsible for a variety of extremely serious diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis and tick paralysis.
Lyme disease is typically the most worrisome as nearly 20,000 Americans are diagnosed every year, according to the Infectious Disease Society of America. Most cases of Lyme disease occur in late summer and fall months when people are more active outdoors. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a non-profit committed to the protection of public health, food and property, urges families to take extra measures to protect themselves and their pets from tick bites. Blacklegged ticks, often called “deer ticks,” can carry the Lyme disease bacteria.
As people take part in outdoor activities, the risk of being bitten by a tick increases. Avoid tick bites by following these preventive guidelines from the NPMA.
* When in an area where ticks are common, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, preferably light-colored so ticks will be easy to detect.
* Tuck pants into socks.
* Use a tick repellent.
* Upon returning indoors, inspect clothing and your entire body, including your head, for ticks. Don’t forget to check your family members who may have been out with you and/or your dog as well.
* After spending time in a tick habitat, it’s a good idea to take a shower because it will afford you the opportunity to thoroughly inspect your entire body.
* Wash clothes immediately.
* Keep grass cut low, including around fence lines, sheds, trees, shrubs, swing sets and other difficult-to-cut locations and remove weeds, woodpiles and other debris from the yard.
* Inquire about lawn tick treatments; especially those that focus on the edges of the lawn where it interfaces with natural areas. This method has the greatest chance of preventing ticks from establishing themselves in your back yard.
* Pet owners should speak to their veterinarians about preventative flea and tick treatments, as these can help to deter pet pests and kill ticks on contact/upon being bitten.
For more pest control and management tips, visit www.pestworld.org.

Fleas and Ticks Pose Problems for Pets

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It happens every summer — your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, whether he is playing, hiking or camping, only to end up with swollen ticks on his ears or belly hours later. But parasites, such as fleas and ticks, are not just a summer menace. They can infect pets at any time.
Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK), Banfield Pet Hospital’s (www.banfield.net) internal research team, recently reviewed more than 2.2 million health records obtained from dog and cat visits in 2009. Fleas are the most common parasite in kittens under six months, middle-aged dogs and senior dogs and cats. Their research also shows that May is the peak season for ticks, and October is the peak season for fleas, making parasites an ongoing concern for pet owners.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks, is the most commonly reported vector-transmitted disease. And research suggests that dogs are twice as likely to develop Lyme disease as humans living in the same area.
Parasites are more than annoyances — they spread disease, not only to your pets, but to other members of your family as well. Fleas and ticks “are responsible for potentially severe allergic reactions, tapeworm infections and can cause severe anemia and death in young, sick or debilitated pets,” explained Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield.
Preventing fleas and ticks is a critical part of a pet’s health care, but pet owners should speak to their veterinarian before attempting treatments.
“Flea and tick preventive care products, like powders, sprays and spot-on treatments, offer varying degrees of efficacy and safety. Additionally, the huge number of products available can make selecting the proper preventive care product overwhelming to Pet owners,” said Karen Johnson, DVM, vice president and client advocate for Banfield.
Getting flea and tick products directly from your veterinarian helps ensure pet safety, as veterinarians instruct pet owners in proper dosage and application. Pet owners should also ask veterinarians about flea and tick products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, such as FirstShield.
“At Banfield, preventive care is the cornerstone of our practice — that includes everything from routine vaccines and twice-annual comprehensive physical examinations to recommending the safest and most effective flea and tick preventive product that is right for the pet and their family,” said Johnson.
For more information, visit www.banfield.net.