April is Lyme Disease In Dogs Awareness Month

Sick Dog

Did you know that April is “Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs” month?

Lyme disease is a bacterial, tick-borne disease, prevalent in the Northeast, but found across the US. This disease is now regarded as the most common tick-borne illness in the US. Lyme disease affects dogs and humans, but is rarely found in other domestic animals. It is spread through ticks. When an infected tick attaches to a host (a person or dog), ticks can spread Lyme disease through their saliva.

What can you do to prevent your pet from getting bitten by a deer tick?

First it’s important to understand where deer ticks live. They are rarely found in open, sunny areas, but love to harbor in woods, unmaintained borders, open lawn and ornamentals. They specifically like shaded, moist areas and wooded areas.

It’s also important to understand that most Lyme infections come from nymphal (immature) ticks, which are only the size of a pinhead.

Mosquito Squad of Montgomery & Howard County offers a barrier spray effective for killing immature and mature ticks on the move. We additionally offer an integrated pest management for ticks, utilizing “tick tubes” which were developed by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health, which target nymphal ticks that live off of rodents. As cotton is a great nesting material, mice find the impregnated cotton in the tick tubes and take it back to their nests. The cotton then transfers the permethrin to the mice’s fur (the permethrin will not hurt the mice). Ticks that attach to the mice, or enter the bureau, will die from the permethrin.  Note: In many regions where Lyme disease is a problem such as the DC metro, each mouse on average is infested with 10-20 ticks daily in the months between May and September.

We recommend the 6 C’s to Tick-Proof your yard:

  1. Clear out. Reduce tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.
  2. Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep the lawn short.
  3. Choose plants.  Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
  4. Check hiding places: Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.
  5. Care for family pets. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.
  6. Call in the Pros: Professionals utilize both barrier sprays that can kill adult ticks on the spot as well as “tick tubes”. Strategically placed “tick tubes”, prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.

If your dog is bitten by a tick, you should you look out for the following symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • A red skin rash at the site of the bite
  • A stiff, painful gait or lameness
  • Fever
  • Reluctance to move

Be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any Lyme disease symptoms or have any concerns.
Studies suggest that while more than 75% of dogs in tick endemic areas will be exposed to infected ticks, only about 5% of of those exposed to infected ticks actually develop clinical signs that might be attributable to Lyme disease. A diagnosis of Lyme disease is typically made based on exposure to ticks, signs of arthritis and positive response to treatment. There is a blood test that measures antibodies to the bacteria but many dogs that live in endemic regions such as Maryland will have a positive blood test. A positive blood test just means that the dog was exposed to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, but not all dogs that are exposed will show signs of disease.

Mosquito Squad of Howard County & Montgomery County is a locally-owned niche pest-control company that helps you take back your backyard and enjoy your outdoor living space! We offer solutions to rid your property of mosquitoes, ticks and stink bugs, including our barrier spray service, automatic misting systems, and special event sprays. Call us at 301-926-3001 to get a quote and find out how you can enjoy the outdoors and protect your family & pets from the dangers of ticks and diseases like Lyme Disease and this new tick-borne bacterial illness shared in this blog post. Take preventative measures to keep ticks away by calling Mosquito Squad today!


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