What To Do If You Have A Blacklegged Tick Bite
Remove the tick by pulling it directly out with fine-tipped tweezers. Lift upward with slow and even pressure. Dont twist when removing it. Dont crush it or put soap or other substances on it. Dont apply heat to it.
Place the tick in a resealable container. See if you can identify what kind of a tick it is.
Immediately after removing the tick, wash your skin well with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.
Not all ticks carry Lyme. The Lyme bacteria is transmitted only by blacklegged ticks in their nymph or adult stage.
Save the tick to show your doctor. The doctor will want to determine if its a blacklegged tick and if theres evidence of feeding. Ticks enlarge as they feed. Your risk of getting Lyme from an infected tick increases with the length of time that the tick fed on your blood.
Pull the tick out with tweezers and save it in a resealable container for identification.
Preventing Lyme Disease In Dogs
Whenever your dog has been walking through areas where ticks may hide, its a good idea to check your pet for ticks once you arrive home. Removing ticks isnt as simple as you might think. If you spot a tick on your pooch, contact your veterinarian for instructions on how to safely remove the tick from your dogs skin.
We also recommend checking your own body for ticks. Lyme disease is much more severe in humans than in dogs. If you discover a tick has latched onto your skin, contact your doctor for advice on removing the tick.
Its important to note that your dog does not pose a risk to you or your family however you are at risk if you spend time in the same outdoor environment as your dog and are around infected ticks.
Also, keep up on tick prevention and parasite prevention year-round, and speak with your vet about vaccinating your dog against Lyme. Avoid brushing against shrubs or walking through long grass while on walks, and check your dog every day for ticks.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your petâs condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
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How Does A Tick Bite Affect My Body
You might not even know youve been bitten by a tick. Most dont cause pain or itching but some do. Some tick bites dont cause disease. Sometimes you can remove the tick before it can pass on any germs.
The tick bite itself may not cause symptoms except for some type of skin reaction, like a rash or a small hard lump. The infection that tick bites can give you may begin to cause symptoms.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
People aren’t able to become immune to Lyme disease. So even if you’ve had Lyme disease, you can get it again. No vaccine is available currently to prevent the disease.
The FDA approved a Lyme vaccine called LYMErix in 1998. The vaccine was not 100% effective, however. The FDA still recommended preventing the disease in other ways. In 2002, the company that made LYMErix said it would no longer offer the vaccine.
To help prevent Lyme disease, follow these guidelines.
Are There Different Kinds Of Ticks
Ticks are parasites that feed on warm-blooded hosts. They are related to mites and spiders because they are all arthropods. That means they have eight legs. There are many kinds of ticks. Some of the most common ticks in the U.S. include:
- Blacklegged tick, also known as deer ticks.
- Lone Star tick.
- Dog tick .
Ticks can vary in size and color. Some are larger. Some are brown or reddish-brown. Others are darker. Some have lighter markings on their backs.
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Lyme Disease In Dogs Can Dogs Get It
Many of us are aware that ticks can spread illnesses through their bite.
Lyme disease is one of the many diseases that ticks can harbor, infecting both humans and dogs with a simple bite.
Lyme disease is a realistic threat in many parts of the country, making it so important for dog owners to be educated on the details of this condition.
In this article we will get into the details of Lyme disease in our canine friends, and help you better understand your dogs prognosis if they are diagnosed with this tick-borne illness.
Lyme Disease In Dogs And Other Pets
Household pets can get Lyme disease, too. Typical symptoms in animals include swollen joints and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. Experts in the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine say that dogs with Lyme disease occasionally develop serious kidney disease that can be fatal.
There are ways you can reduce your pets risk for tick bites and Lyme disease. Regularly checking pets for all types of ticks, for instance, reduces the risk of infection for both pet and owner. Avoid allowing your dog to roam in tick-infested areas.
Topical, oral and/or collar products are also very important in preventing Lyme disease in dogs.
There are two basic types of Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs. Talk to your veterinarian to see if vaccination is appropriate for your dog. There is no vaccination for cats, which do not seem susceptible to Lyme disease.
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Where Do We Find Ticks
Generally, you can find ticks where the animals they feed on live. This usually includes wooded and grassy areas. An adult tick quests for its next blood meal by climbing up grasses and bushes to wait for an animal to pass by. Nymphs and larvae are typically found in layers of decomposing leaves underneath trees. Ticks thrive in damp environments and are less active in hot, dry weather.
Should I Be Tested For Lyme Disease After A Tick Bite
Lyme testing relies on detecting antibodies the bodys reaction to the germ not the germ itself. It takes time for the body to make antibodies, at least a couple of weeks after you have become infected. Someone with symptoms of very early Lyme disease is likely to have a negative Lyme antibody test. On the other hand, false positive Lyme tests can happen, so someone without symptoms of Lyme disease who tests positive is unlikely to really have the disease. Testing for Lyme disease shortly after a tick bite is not helpful, says Dr. Baer and may lead to a prescription for a medication that you just dont need.
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Can You Treat Lyme Disease In Dogs
Because the agent responsible for Lyme disease is a bacteria, this means the condition can be treated with the use of antibiotics.
The standard course of treatment involves 30 days of antibiotic therapy, using doxycycline, amoxicillin, and azithromycin.
Many pet owners see improvements in their dogs symptoms in as little as 5 days after antibiotics are administered, with most pups making a full recovery after the 30 days.
However, some dogs will require a longer course of antibiotics, which is why it is so important to test their antibody levels again once they have completed their initial treatment.
Lyme Disease: Beware Of Ticks
Summer! Its a great time to spend time outdoors with friends or family. Between beach time, family reunions, camping, and hiking, its unfortunately also tick season. While its important to get out in nature whenever possible, danger lurks afoot! Wood ticks and Deer ticks are known for their tendency to harbor a particular parasite bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which, if its transmitted through a bite, causes Lyme disease.
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Lyme Disease Signs And Symptoms
Most symptoms of Lyme disease in humans usually appear between three and 30 days after a bite from an infected blacklegged tick.
You should contact your local public health unit or speak to a health care professional right away if you have been somewhere that ticks might live and experience any of the following symptoms:
- a bulls-eye rash (a red patch on the skin that is usually round or oval and more than 5 cm that spreads outwards and is getting bigger
- a bruise-like rash
- another type of unusual rash
- muscle aches and joint pains
- swollen lymph nodes
- spasms, numbness or tingling
- facial paralysis
If not treated, Lyme disease can make you feel tired and weak and, if it gets really bad, it can even harm your heart, nerves, liver and joints. Symptoms from untreated Lyme disease can last years and include recurring arthritis and neurological problems, numbness, paralysis and, in very rare cases, death.
What Blacklegged Ticks Look Like
Blacklegged ticks are small and hard to see. They attach themselves to humans and animals and feed on their blood. They can range in size depending on how long they have been feeding.
You can find out if its a blacklegged tick by:
- calling your local public health unit or checking their website
- submitting a photo of the tick to etick.ca
Adult female blacklegged tick at various stages of feeding. Photo: Government of Canada
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Helping The Body Overcome Lyme
Lyme is an infection like any other infection. Infections are mostly addressed the same way, by first addressing inflammation and stress on the nervous system. This is done with dietary changes , herbs to break down the biofilm protection the parasite builds, and herbs to fight the infection.
- Japanese knotweed can help prevent the spirochetes from morphing and spreading to other tissue.
- Depending on your situation, you may also be recommended some anti-infectious herbs, such as Cats claw, oregano, and others.
- Albizia or other inflammation-calming herbs may also be added
Some infections are more difficult to eradicate than others. Lyme can be tricky to address, as it is rarely an isolated condition. However, the success of the patient is dependent on the condition of the immune response.
So Ive Been Bitten By A Black Legged Tick How Do I Know If I Have Lyme Disease
Whether you received Lyme disease preventative antibiotics or not, it is important to know and watch for signs of Lyme disease. Watch the area of the tick bite at first redness may be noted. This is a reaction/response of the body at the site of the tick bite and is typically the size of a quarter or smaller.
Over the first month after the tick bite, watch for spreading redness or a bulls eye rash as this could be a sign of Lyme disease. The rash usually does not hurt, but some patients report burning or itching. If this develops, most people will have one bulls eye rash. But some people may have more than one on different parts of the body. Others may also experience low energy, mild headache, muscle or joint pain, and/or swollen lymph nodes in the area of the tick bite.
In rare cases, if Lyme disease is not diagnosed early, patients may develop more severe illness weeks to months after the tick bite. If you are worried about late symptoms of Lyme disease, please talk with your health care provider.
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When Should I Be Concerned About A Tick Bite
In cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever , the disease should be treated as soon as its suspected. If at any point after a tick bite you begin experiencing unusual symptoms such as fever, rash, or joint pain, its important that you seek medical care right away. Let your doctor know that a tick recently bit you.
A Tick Bite Is Never Something To Brush Off Forget About And Deal With Later Many Ticks Carry Microbes That Can Cause A Variety Of Diseases
If diseases caused by tick bites are left untreated, they can lead to serious health problems that could potentially affect your muscles, joints, brain, heart, vision, and nervous system. Many tick-borne illnesses can have serious consequences that alter your lifestyle and activities by limiting your mobility, cognition, and overall quality of life. Knowing how to identify a tick bite and recognizing the general symptoms of tick-borne diseases can alert you to possible health risks sooner, so you can consult with your healthcare provider about appropriate next steps as soon as possible.
What a tick looks like
The first step in identifying tick bites is to know what ticks look like. Ticks will look different at each stage of their life cycle. Belonging to the arachnid class , ticks begin their life as an egg then hatch as a larva, which grows into a nymph and finally an adult tick. Dozens of tick species exist, but all are similar in appearance.
Photo taken by Christopher Paddock. Image Source:
Ticks generally have four stages of life: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. Ticks advance through each of these stages by molting, a process during which they shed their outer skin.
What does a tick bite look like?
If youre worried you may have been exposed to a tick-borne illness, its obvious to wonder what a tick bite looks like. Unless a rash appears, a tick bite is likely to look much like any other bug bite.
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What Are The Treatments For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better it gives you the best chance of fully recovering quickly.
After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts more than 6 months. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Researchers don’t know why some people have PTLDS. There is no proven treatment for PTLDS long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS. If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel unwell, contact your health care provider about how to manage your symptoms. Most people do get better with time. But it can take several months before you feel all better.
Time For A Refresher On Ticks
Tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis are a serious health concern in New Hampshire. Although ticks are likely to be active any time the temperature is above freezing, you are more likely to contract a tick-borne illness in the summer months.
While there are several tick-borne illnesses to watch out for in our area, they are carried by the smaller Deer Ticks, not Dog Ticks. Says Marika Henegan, MD, a provider at Cheshires Urgent Primary Care Visits . A baby, or nymph, Deer Tick can be hard to notice, which is why checking yourself thoroughly for ticks is important after you have been in the woods or long grass.
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What Precautions Can I Take Against Tick Bites
- Avoid wooded, brushy, and grassy areas, especially in May, June, and July.
- Wear light-colored clothing so that you can see ticks that get on you.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and shoes that cover the entire foot.
- Tuck pant legs into socks or shoes, and tuck shirts into pants.
- Wear a hat for extra protection.
- Spray insect repellent containing DEET on clothes and uncovered skin.
- Walk in the center of trails to avoid brush and grass.
- Remove your clothing, and wash and dry them at high temperatures after being outdoors.
- Do a careful body check for ticks after outdoor activities.
Stage : Small Oval Rashes Or A Reddish Lump
When a tick that causes Lyme disease bites you, it infects you with bacteria. Without treatment, the bacteria can spread to other areas of your body. Stage 2 begins when the bacteria spread to other parts of your body.
During this stage, you may see small, oval rashes on your skin. Some people develop a bluish-red lump.
Where you see these signs: Because the infection has spread, small rashes can appear anywhere on your skin, except for your palms and soles. Most rashes appear on the arms, legs, and face.
Some people develop a lump, which your doctor may refer to as borrelial lymphocytoma. In children, this lump tends to appear on an earlobe. Adults often see a raised growth form around a nipple.
Borrelial lymphocytoma on a childs ear
This can appear in stage 2 of Lyme disease.
What you may see on your skin: The rashes that appear during stage 2 differ from the rash that can appear in stage 1. In stage 2, the rashes stay the same size rather than grow larger.
When the rashes, lump, and symptoms begin: About 30 to 45 days after the tick bites you, you may notice rashes or a lump. These can also take longer to appear, sometimes six months or more.
Some people develop symptoms, which make them feel ill, including:
Shortness of breath and dizzy spells
Bells palsy, which causes one half of the face to droop
Heart problems, such as chest pains or an irregular heartbeat
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How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease Or Other Tick
Recommendations on preventing ticks include these from AKCs Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein:
- Inspect your dogs and yourself daily for ticks after walks through the woods or grassy settings. On dogs, look especially on the feet , on lips, around eyes, ears , near the anus, and under the tail.
- Remove ticks stat. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites. Learn the proper method of tick removal. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers used for this purpose. If you are unable to do so, consult with a veterinarian.
- Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam. Theyll be able to find any you may have missed.
- Prevent ticks from jumping on your dog with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick preparations available on the market. Speak to your veterinarian to find the best and most appropriate product for your dog.
- Keep grass mowed as short as possible. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can.
- Get your dog vaccinated. Vaccination could prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease. They may not be appropriate for some dogs, so discuss with your vet.