It's January in Pittsburgh, so the ticks are gone, right?
While we'd love to tell you that we're out of danger of tick bites and the potential for them to transmit disease to us and our pets, unfortunately it's just not so.
"But it's winter - I thought all the ticks were gone!?"
Ticks don't follow calendars - they follow the weather. These recent mild Pittsburgh winters have been nice for avoiding school closures and dangerous commutes, but they haven't given us the extreme, long-term deep freezes needed to keep ticks at bay.
Case in Point:
This little guy is Floyd.
He was out in the woods with his owner today.
After several hours of running through the forest, Floyd's "dad" came inside to find not one, not two...but FIVE ticks on his person. Ew!
Floyd follows our recommendations for tick prevention: he wears a Seresto collar year-round, and he is up-to-date on his Lyme vaccine.
We strongly encourage all of our clients to maintain flea and tick prevention on their pets all 12 months of the year, and to keep their dogs current on Lyme vaccination.
Lyme Disease is here to stay in southwestern PA:
Since 2012, we have seen a growing number of patients exposed to Lyme disease.
With your dog's annual heartworm test, we also screen for 3 tick-borne diseases: Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. The percentage of Lyme-positive dogs climbs each year, and we're working hard to fight against the growing number of infections.
What can you do to prevent Lyme disease in your dog?
Invest in a quality, safe, and effective flea and tick preventative for your pets.
Our hospital stocks options that suit your pet's individual needs and your preferences, including topicals (Frontline TriTak, Advantix II), collars (Seresto), and oral chewables (NexGard). To see how you can save, view our Products page here.
Already know what product you need? You can request prescription refills online at your Petly account.
Make sure your dog is vaccinated against Lyme, and that boosters are up-to-date.
The Lyme vaccine isn't 100% effective, but it's an important protective measure to avoid Lyme disease. Plus, if your Lyme-vaccinated dog does happen to test positive, the vaccine manufacturer offers a guarantee to cover the cost of treatment, so long as your dog tested negative in screenings prior to being given the vaccine.
Not vaccinated yet? That's okay - it's never too late to start.
The Lyme vaccine series begins as two injections, 2-3 weeks apart, and then once every 12 months thereafter.
[UPDATE May 9, 2017]: As advocates for your pet’s health, we continuously evaluate current research and treatment options to provide the best care for your companions. In doing so, we found several recent studies that evaluated the effectiveness of the Lyme vaccine based on different vaccination schedules.
In short, this research shows that a third administration of the Lyme vaccine within the first year increases its effectiveness from 68% to about 92% for the first 12 months. To best protect your dog from Lyme disease, we are recommending an additional vaccine booster 6 months after the initial booster series.
If you have other dogs that have been vaccinated for Lyme for over 1 year, they are adequately protected. They do not need an additional dose now and can continue to get annual vaccinations.
Call us at 724-933-7387 to schedule, or click here to request an appointment online.
We're often asked "how cold is too cold" for pets to be outdoors.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer with so many variables: wind chill, wet conditions, and your dog's breed and health status.
We all want to have fun outside with our pups, so share this handy chart to help you and your dog-loving friends to judge how safe it is to play in the chilly weather!
(The above chart was created by Dr. Kim Smyth of PetPlan, adapted from a system developed by Tufts University.)