Many pet parents acquire a particular breed or type of dog to match their active lifestyle. Taking a beloved companion hiking or canoeing or camping with the family or friends can add tremendously to an adventurous getaway (that is, unless your dog gets “skunked”, then the fun and games are definitely over !).
However, there is a common “danger” to anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors, whether camping or hiking or even backyard gardening: Ticks. Throughout the year in North Carolina (and far beyond the borders of our state), ticks are a serious concern for both people and pets. There are numerous serious diseases that ticks can spread, but only one of which we can protect against in dogs: Lyme Disease (Borreliosis).
Yes, this is the same Lyme Disease that people can get. But in dogs, we have a vaccine that can protect them against the severe health risks associated with this condition.
But to be clear, your dog doesn’t have to head out on a hiking trail or in a pasture to get ticks. Anywhere there are deer nearby, such as your neighborhood, a local greenway, or even your own backyard, ticks are certainly close at hand, just waiting to jump on a warm-blooded mammal for a meal.
We have 2 foundational/core vaccines for all dogs:
- Rabies, which is required by law, and
- Distemper-Parvo, which protects against several diseases, including 2 forms of kennel cough.
If you have an adventurous dog, it is safe to assume that she/he is also quite social around other dogs. For these “Adventure” dogs, there are 2 other vaccines that we strongly recommend.
- Bordetella, which protects against one form of “kennel cough” (as mentioned above, the Distemper-Parvo vaccine protects against 2 forms of kennel cough, and there are still several other viruses and bacteria that are responsible for kennel cough)
- Lyme Disease
Furthermore, we recommend that ALL dogs should be on Heartworm Prevention to protect against this potentially life-threatening disease that is spread only by mosquitoes. We have 2 different types of heartworm tests available: 1) Heartworm test only and 2) Heartworm test + Lyme Disease + Ehrlichia (also spread by ticks) + Anaplasmosis (also spread by ticks), which we call the Flex-4 Heartworm Test.
If you have an Adventure dog, we strongly encourage letting us know so we can test your dog with the Flex-4 Heartworm Test to make sure your dog doesn’t have Lyme Disease, Ehrlichia or Anaplasmosis as well as testing for heartworms.
FYI, for a look at the presence and severity of heartworm Disease as well as Lyme, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis, I encourage you to go to www.capcvet.org. On the homepage, open the “Parasite Prevalence Maps” (upper left of homepage beneath the CAPC logo). Once there, you can click on any state or any county in the U.S. and see how many cases of Heartworms, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis (as well as intestinal parasites and more) have been reported by year or month. Prepare to be astonished!