Be aware that there is more than one disease transmitted by "deer" and /or dog ticks. As many of you are painfully aware, not only is Lyme disease rampant in the NE but also Erlichiosis is another that is making its mark both in humans and dogs.
The deer tick is minute in larval and nymph stages and tiny even when mature -- 1/16" or less and therefore very difficult to detect. If it's much larger, it's more likely to be a dog tick.
It takes 24 hours for the tick to engorge with the blood meal and then it becomes sesame seed size!
Many of the symptoms of the tick bite overlap but in Erlichiosis they peak very quickly whereas in Lyme they appear to develop slowly.
Ticks usually do not transmit Lyme if attached for less than 24 hours.
In Lyme sometimes a circular and blotchy rash appears. There can be "flu" like symptoms: fever, headaches, sore throat, muscle aches, joint pain and fatigue.
By contrast in Erlichiosis, there are sudden or rapid "flu" like symptoms: fever, severe headache, muscle and joint pains.
Both illnesses are treatable with antibiotics -- Doxycycline is the drug of choice with certain `caveats' and, provided treatment begins promptly, there are generally few after effects. Often when these symptoms are ignored or are barely detectable, health problems can occur.
Some useful tips: If walking in woods and or grasslands, wear light colored clothing and tuck trousers into socks. Keep to well beaten tracks preferably keeping out of those areas until after several hard frosts! Use "Deet" or equivalent insect repellent if you can. Use suitable tick protection on your dogs as well. Get into the habit of thoroughly checking yourselves (hair, skin and clothing) and your dogs daily. If you think you've been bitten by a tick, see your Doctor!!
In the words of a doctor friend in my area, "Already they are treating 2 to 3 cases a week and they suspect with this wet summer it is going to get worse!"
Likewise if your dog displays unusual symptoms such as lethargy, difficulty moving, fever, etc, go see your vet!!
It's better to be safe than sorry!
ANTIC, September, 2003
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