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    Ticks and Lyme Disease

     

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    What We Know About Deer Ticks

    Deer ticks pass through four life cycles: egg, larva, nymph and adulthood over a one to two-year period. The females are the biters and seek a warm-blooded mammal to feed upon to stay alive. Ticks do not jump or fly; but they do crawl.

    White-tailed deer are the favorite hosts of deer ticks. In the warm summer months, when deer become extremely active, deer ticks thrive. As deer enter backyards in search of food, deer ticks and Lyme disease follow – and they do not go dormant – even in the wintertime. They will remain active in search of a warm-blooded host as long as temperatures are above freezing.

    It's important to note that not all deer ticks are infected with pathogens like Lyme Disease; but if they attach to a human, and stay for longer periods of time, the effects can be harmful.

    What is Lyme Disease?

    Lyme disease, often referred to as Lyme, is caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi which is transmitted to humans and animals through tick bites.

    Where do ticks find warm-blooded hosts?

    Most often, individuals get bit while working outside in the garden, hiking, or walking their dog.

    “Although many tick species can transmit Lyme disease, deer ticks are primary carriers in the United States,” says Mark Dayhoff, wildlife control expert and general manager of Trident Deer Fence.

    The tick species usually hang out in grassy or woodland areas. If you are an outdoors enthusiast, it is strongly suggested that you wear insect repellents and/or long-sleeve clothing. Be sure to do a thorough body tick-check after outdoor events on both pets and yourself. 

    If you get bit by a deer tick, you may not see sudden effects. In most cases, the area will become swollen or red with a "bull's eye" on the infected area.

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    How to remove Deer Tick

    Lyme Disease Symptoms - What to Expect:

    In 60-80 percent of all cases, a rash resembling a “bull’s eye” appears around the skin of the bite. This often occurs within 30 days. (Sometimes, multiple rashes can occur around the infected bite.) Most individuals will experience a fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and swollen glands – often confused with signs of the flu. As the disease progresses, severe fatigue and numbness of the arms and legs occurs – even facial paralysis. Symptoms may not be immediately after a tick bite.

    Dogs and cats are also susceptible to tick-borne diseases including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in dog ticks. Dogs that may have an attached tick will become tired and lethargic. 

    Symptoms of Dog Lyme Disease

    • Regurgitation
    • Unsteadiness
    • High blood pressure
    • Fast heart rate and rhythm (tachyarrhythmias)
    • Weakness, especially in the hind limbs
    • Partial loss of muscle movements (paresis)
    • Complete loss of muscle movement (paralysis), commonly seen in advanced disease state
    • Poor reflexes to complete loss of reflex
    • Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
    • Difficulty in eating
    • Disorder of voice (dysphonia)
    • Asphyxia due to respiratory muscle paralysis in severely affected animals
    • Excessive drooling (sialosis)
    • Megaesophagus (enlarged esophagus)
    • Excessive dilatation of pupil in the eye (mydriasis)

    Treatment of Lyme:

    Early treatments require antibiotics and usually result in full cures. However, the chances for a full recovery decrease if treatment is delayed.


     
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    What can we do at home to stop the spread of deer ticks?

    According to Dayhoff, “deer fencing is the most effective means for excluding deer.” Dayhoff adds that “animal repellents, which deter deer using odors and chemicals, and animal scaring devices, which deter deer using sounds, can be satisfactory alternatives when deer fencing is not feasible."

    Per the National Center for Biological Information, a division of the National Institute of Health, the use of deer fencing has been proven to reduce the risk of Lyme disease by 83-97% (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Without deer entering the area surrounding your home, new deer ticks become limited and eventually, existing deer ticks become scarce.

    In addition, the CDC encourages homeowners to create a tick-safe zoning area around the home. They recommend the following:

    •     Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
    •     Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play   equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
    •     Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
    •     Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
    •     Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
    •     Apply deer repellents and pesticides.

    According to Dayhoff, “non-toxic, organic deer repellents can be an excellent alternative to harsh chemical repellents. In addition to the environmental benefits, organic repellents can be safer for children and pets.”

    Contact The TridentCorp to discuss fence types and effective deer management solutions.

     


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