Tick season brings on Lyme disease concern for pets - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Tick season brings on Lyme disease concern for pets


MADISON (WKOW) -- Veterinarians say they're seeing a number of Lyme disease cases in dogs so far this year, and ticks will be plentiful this summer.

Entomologists expect this summer to be a buggy one. The wet weather has been perfect for ticks to thrive and the risk of Lyme disease comes with them. 
27 News reached out to a number of Madison area veterinary clinics, most saying they've seen a lot of dogs coming in with tick bites and a number of cases of Lyme disease. Wisconsin is one of the states with the highest number of Lyme disease cases in the country because of our climate.
Veterinarian John Carey with Westgate Pet Clinic says you should always check your pets for ticks when they come in the house. A tick has to be attached for 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease and be careful-- they can hop from dogs to people.
A red rash is a common sign in humans, but you may not necessarily see that in dogs. There are some tell-tale signs.
"Just mild fever-like symptoms, mild sore joint-type of thing," says Carey. "Sometimes shifting legs, they're sore on one leg and later on they're sore on another one."
Carey recommends getting your dog a Lyme disease vaccination and test every year. Pet owners should also use topical preventative medicines to keep ticks away. 
If Lyme disease is detected early enough, it's curable with a course of antibiotics. That's what worked for a Waunakee family's dog, who was diagnosed with the disease about a month ago. The Ballwegs never even found a tick on 8-year-old Fenway, but noticed the normally active, excited dog was acting strangely.
"One night, he just got up and he was yelping in the middle of the night," says Annie Ballweg. "He was not walking very well and so you could tell he was in a lot of pain."
The family took their chocolate lab to the vet, got him on some meds and is doing just fine now. Ballweg says she plans to be extra careful when going outdoors, using more flea and tick treatment than in the past.
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