Let’s talk Lyme Disease (EW!!)
Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Let’s all agree, Lyme Disease is one tough “bugger”. Sometimes you don’t even notice a tick on yourself or your pet until it’s engorged and disgusting – well, they’re always disgusting, but sometimes far more than others. “They” say that Lyme does not transmit until the bug has been attached for at least 24 hours. Regardless, I am confident that our goal should be to prevent them altogether and/or remove them as quickly as possible. Sadly, nothing is 100%. The most important thing you can do is check yourself and your pets every day. Get the tick off, and get it off quickly…
Unfortunately, as many as 50% of all ticks carry Lyme and/or its coinfections such as ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. So, acting quickly will always be your best defense.
The most common types of ticks we’ll encounter in the more northern climates are American Dog Ticks, Deer Ticks, and even occasionally the Lone Star tick. Truthfully, when the tick is on me or my dogs, I don’t care what kind it is, I’m getting it off as soon as I can, in the best way possible, and terminating it. They all can carry different diseases and the most important part is to get it off, treat the wound, and potentially treat the body systemically, as needed.
For tick removal, we always must get the head out properly so that it doesn’t “spit” back inside the body as it is removed.
I recommend the following as my protocol for prevention and removal with natural products. All these items are in my “tool kit” and truly, it’s not as overwhelming as it may sound as many of the items are used only “as needed”. I just keep them on hand.
Earth Animal Herbal Spray. Safe for pets and people. For dogs I spray when I take them for walks. Always cover their eyes and nose! This spray also helps stop mosquitoes and other biting pests from biting you and them! I use it on myself all summer long. I keep a bottle in my car and my garage for when we’re heading out to the trail in our neighborhood. The dogs don’t seem to mind it at all, and the scent is quite mild.
Earth Animal Yeast Free Flea/Tick Powder or Drops. You add this product to your dog’s food 1-2 times per day. Wags to Whiskers stocks this product and I use it between April and October. It’s a great “repellant” that works naturally from the inside out. Most dogs even enjoy the taste of it. With the powder, I suggest wetting the food, if you’re not feeding raw, with goat’s milk or fresh water to mix it in well. Feed between April and October.
Earth Animal Natural Flea/Tick Collars. An all-natural collar that smells pretty good. I generally take it off my girls at night for bedtime. I use between April and October. Wags to Whiskers stocks this product also.
The TickKey. I keep this on my key ring AND in our kitchen ‘gadgets’ (aka junk) drawer. Wags to Whiskers stocks TickKeys. For removal, place over the tick and pull the narrow end towards you and towards the ticks’ body and it pulls the bug out whole, when used property. Smash that thing under a paper towel with a flat hammer on a hard surface. (My opinion.) Their outer body is a hard shell, so it must be smashed. After removal, I clean the area with diluted Hydrogen Peroxide or diluted Betadine for a couple of days.
If you believe that a tick has been attached for a while (see graphics at the link here), I do recommend visiting your vet for a Lyme panel test ASAP. Identifying tick-borne diseases within the first two weeks is best. A Lyme test is a quick blood draw and results come in about 48 hours. If Lyme positive, I am 100% behind treatment with Doxycycline and it should begin right away. Always be sure to back-end that antibiotic treatment with excellent probiotics, like the Adored Beast Healthy Gut to replace beneficial bacteria! You will need to feed good fresh food and great probiotics to rebuild gut health after using any antibiotic.
During the time you wait for results, you can also use the Amber Naturalz product Vibactra Plus for about 10 days. Yes we stock this product and it's an amazing, natural, anti-microbial tincture that you add to your dog’s nutritional protocol.
Once you remove a tick and have cleaned the area, use CBD Dog Health Remedy Balm on the wound 3-4 times per day, for about a week, to reduce inflammation and prevent irritation. You can use this balm for yourself on bug bites also! Great stuff!
Consider acquiring Beneficial Nematodes from Arbico-Organics.com Using nematodes in your yard can help quite a bit. Nematodes are beneficial bugs that eat the larvae of not-so beneficial bugs like ticks. Their NemAttack SF is for these nasty ticks. Also buy their application container to hose your yard areas. Follow the directions closely as there are certain times of the day to spray them. Usually in Mid-May it is very close to the time to apply them, so I would order now. Very easy to do and great for protecting your yard! We’re now going on year 3 of application and I do believe they help.
Another great spray that we recommend for yourselves, your pets and even their bedding is Wondercide. Wags to Whiskers stocks their products and a couple of their yard sprays starting in May each year. Additionally consider spraying your yard with Wondercide's full coverage natural yard spray. We sock the Wondercide product for this option too. It’s pretty easy – just attach it to your hose and off you go spraying around shrubs and trees.
For overall protection and awareness of health, I do a Lyme panel test along with our heartworm test every 6 months with my holistic veternarian. Catching disease early is our best defense vs. using toxic chemicals.
Also be sure you’re feeding plenty of quality Omega Fatty Acids, and anti-inflammatory foods that are low in carbohydrates, and high in quality meat and fat sources. Wags to Whiskers ALWAYS suggests first a RAW food diet to manage inflammation in the body. However, we stock several high-quality cooked, freeze dried and even dry foods that are higher quality that one would buy at a big box store. Please stop in for a free consult to reconsider your food choices to help manage your dog's gut health and inflammatory responses. A healthy gut keeps the body healthy.
With this protocol that I have outlined, I truly hope that you and your pets stay tick free, and better yet, disease free all year long!
I hope this info helps keep your pets (and yourselves) tick free all summer!
Wags to Whiskers