Since I recently found ticks on both of the boys I thought it would be great this month to team up with Bayer Animal Health and Clifford the Big Red Dog to celebrate National Pet Month and National Lyme Disease Awareness Month with a post about common and misleading tick myths, vector borne diseases and how to keep your dog safe from these nasty things.
Myth 1: Ticks bite. Fact: Ticks don’t actually bite they stab their mouth parts into the skin of the host. So it’s actually not a “tick bite” it’s a tick “stabbing”. Their mouth parts are what release the toxins into the host. The host is you or your pet.
Myth 2: Checking my dog for ticks is enough, isn’t it? Fact: Ticks are so small that they normally can’t be found until about 3 days after they have already attached to the host and had a blood meal. By then many pathogens could have already been transmitted to the host.
Myth 3: My dog lives in the city so it doesn’t need tick protection. Truth: Recent studies have shown that ticks aren’t just for country dogs. Many ticks also live in urban parks and gardens. Ticks live in weeds and tall grass. They are choosy about where that is.
Myth 4: My dog has been vaccinated against ticks so it’s protected. Truth: The vaccine only helps protect against a few tick borne diseases. It does not protect against ticks.
Vector borne diseases such as those transmitted by ticks, are on the rise which is why Bayer Animal Health collaborated with Scholastic and Clifford the Big Red Dog to create a limited edition distribution of Clifford Goes to the Doctor, a story that teaches children how to properly care for their pets. The book features tips for families on how to prevent fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
I don’t know about you but when I was a kid I loved watching and reading Clifford. He was by far my favorite character in all the cartoons. I passed along my love for Clifford to my children and I hope they will pass it along one day to theirs.
Who better else to teach young children about complex vector-borne diseases other than a big red dog?
To unveil the limited-edition book, Bayer and Clifford the Big Red Dog, the beloved canine created by bestselling author/illustrator Norman Bridwell, visited the Coral Park Elementary School in Miami where Bayer Animal Health Veterinarian, Dr. Dan Carey, read the story to more than 140 first graders and addressed their pet care questions. Following the reading, first grade students throughout the Miami-Dade School District received copies of Clifford Goes to the Doctor to take home.
“Pets can teach children valuable lessons when it comes to responsibility,” said Dr. Carey. “No matter how young, it’s important for children to learn good habits early when it comes to providing the best possible care for a pet.”
Dr. Susan Little, a veterinarian specializing in parasitology and key thought leader also echoes the importance of prevention. “I want to feed my dog; I don’t want my dog to feed fleas and ticks,” she said.
The release of the limited-edition book from Bayer, Clifford Goes to the Doctor, corresponds with the International Companion Vector-Borne Disease (CVBD) Symposium, held in Miami from May 9-12, 2016. Each year, the symposium invites a group of scientific thought leaders to discuss current findings, as well as future trends concerning the distribution, pathogenesis, clinical implications, diagnosis and prevention of CVBD.
The 2016 International CVBD Symposium focused on key topics affecting the world today, including the transmission time of vector-borne diseases, as well as the latest findings on feline vector-borne diseases, ehrlichiosis in the US and leishmaniasis.
Vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, heartworm disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, can be transmitted when parasites bite your pet and take a blood meal. Among them, Lyme disease, babesiosis and leishmaniasis are known to veterinarians throughout the world as a growing threat. An important prevention measure is to use an effective treatment indicated for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, which can transmit deadly diseases to your dog. Pet owners should consider a product that not only kills, but also repels.
*Disclosure-I received a FREE copy of the book Clifford Goes to the Doctor from Bayer Animal Health.