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Preventing Lyme Disease in Families and Pets

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – Most people who spend a lot of time outdoors know how to keep ticks off. Long-sleeved shirts, tall socks and pant legs tucked inside their boots. It’s all to prevent ticks and Lyme disease.

“It’s actually a bacterial infection but it’s spread by deer ticks,” said Dr. Ryan Steen, a Veterinarian at the Frey Pet Hospital.

Someone who has Lyme disease will know in about two weeks. They’ll see a bullseye-type rash where the tick was and will feel achy, tired and may have a fever.

The symptoms are similar for our four-legged friends. But it’s much harder to spot ticks on dogs or cats that have been outside, so even if there are no ticks on you, they can still hitch a ride on your pet.

“I’d take him home from here and he’d have maybe five or six on him,” said Marion resident Angie Allebach.

Since it’s rained a little bit more this year, the grass is a little bit taller, which means a tick could jump on to any part of a dog’s body instead of just the paws or legs.

“A lot of times we see them on the face or neck,” said Dr. Steen. “Because a lot of times that’s the area we’re focused on on the pet. So if you’re truly checking your pet over for ticks, you need to be looking everywhere on their body.”

“Ticks are pretty prominent, so we keep an eye on it and use our preventative maintenance,” said North Liberty resident Rich Nichols.

If that preventative maintenance, like tick collars and topical solutions, don’t work and you notice ticks on a pet, you have two choices. You can take them to a vet to get checked out, but that’s not always necessary.

“People certainly can do it at home. It’s just a matter of searching over your pet,” said Dr. Steen.

A simple process to keep ticks and Lyme disease at bay.

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