May 1, 2015 3:27 PM

Lyme Disease from deer ticks a serious pet problem after NH winter

With warmer weather, the deer tick population is exploding, and for humans and pets that means the spread of Lyme disease.

New Hampshire has one of the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country.

This winter, the ticks were able to hibernate underneath massive snow banks and multiply. Now they're coming out in potential record numbers.

At the Lafayette Animal Hospital in Portsmouth, Dr. Morton Schmidt is busy testing for the disease, which causes muscle aches and joint stiffness in animals. The 40-X test for Lyme disease costs about $40.

The dog he's seeing today, who has tested positive for Lyme disease, is on antibiotics for one month. According to Dr. Schmidt, symptoms include "intermittent lameness with a fever, and if serious can cause failure of the kidneys."

Unlike humans, there is a Lyme vaccine for animals. To prevent the tick from latching onto the pet, veterinarians recommend using a tick collar, which lasts 8 months. Topical liquids applied to the skin are also effective. After spending any length of time outdoors, be sure to check your pet for ticks and bathe the pet frequently.

If you find a tick on your pet, remove it and contact your veterinarian to get your pet tested.


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