By Daniel Booth SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – According to the State Department of Health, New York sees roughly 8,000 human cases of Lyme disease annually. It’s common for people to pick up ticks while walking outside in the woods, doing yard work, or even just playing in their backyards. But what role do pets play in their owners being infected with Lyme disease?
“If you have a long haired dog you don’t always see the ticks on them, and by the time you do see them it could be too late,” said Dee Schaefer of the CNYSPCA.
Most pets go outside numerous times a day to use the bathroom and exercise. While participating in their daily routine, it’s possible for pets to pick up ticks while running through the woods, or playing in the grass. When pet owners come in contact with their pets in any way, there’s a chance ticks and bounce off the pet and onto their owner. In this scenario, this increases the chance for the pet owner to become infected with Lyme disease.
Dee Schaefer is not only the head of Humane Education at the CNYSPCA, but she helps check and medically evaluate animals the CNYSPCA take in. Schaefer has been dealing with Lyme Disease for the last eight years, and she picked it up while medically evaluating a dog.
“Some animals that come into the CNYSPCA don’t have the current vaccinations or shots they need, and when being medically evaluated, it’s possible that some of the ticks can rub off onto others,” said Schafer, “I went home with a tick and didn’t know about it until about a week later, and I already had the bullseye rash. So I went to my doctor, and tested positive for Lyme disease.”
Schaefer believes it’s important to check animals with a flea comb after playing outside for an extended period of time. Annual vaccinations and medical check ups for pets are also crucial in making sure ticks don’t interfere with the lives of pets and their loved ones.