All over the Hudson Valley, in fact all over the East we are at high risk for tick bites. The dogs if they are out in the woods come back full of ticks. Old Rusty II the cat is 14 or so and sometimes has ticks like grapes hanging in his neck. Rex had severe Lyme tick infection a few years ago and hasn’t been quite the same since. My #1 son had a case so bad when he was 21 and working outside for a painting contractor,  he needed intravenous antibiotics. He was feeling bad for two years.

So here are a few facts, a few theories and a few preventive measures. My friend Arthur who is a doctor specializing in infectious disease hopefully will comment and correct any of the below:

1) Both dog ticks and deer ticks can both be infected with the virus

2) If you remove the tick within 24 hours you will not be infected.

3) The telltale bullseye around the bite tells you whether you are infected or not. On this one I believe it is untrue.

4) The telltale rash can come anywhere on the body, not necessarily where you  are bitten. I think this is true.

5) The rash does not itch

6) If you can see that you have been bitten it takes too long to have the tick (if you’ve kept it) tested and it is better to go immediately on an antibiotic.

These are just a few of the type of questions that come up so if any readers want to add either Qs or comments, fire away.

2 thoughts on “Ticks, Deer Ticks, Dog Ticks and Ideas and maybe Misconceptions

  1. I hope your doctor friend will comment on your facts/theories.
    On the Mississipi Gulf Coast back in the ’50s one of our dogs didn’t come to dinner and was found out in the front field, paralyzed. The vet we took him to said he had tick fever and took the offending tick off his head. He was soon out chasing squirrels along tree limbs again. (Really.)

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  2. Peter, let me try to clarify a few points. The dog tick/wood tick are capable of transmitting other diseases than Lyme (“Borreliosis”) but are not implicated in the transmission of Lyme disease. Experimental studies are not corroborated ‘in the field’.
    Not all deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are infected with the Lyme organism; the percentage infected varies widely year to year.
    In this part of the country, peak months are May to mid July.
    It is also true that the tick needs to finish its blood meal before it can infect the host. This is usually at least 24 hours. If a tick is found and removed the same day as it attaches one will not become infected.
    The reddish spot at the bite site is simply the body’s reaction to the bite itself. The tell tale rash, showing up days to weeks after the bite, is painless and does not itch. It is flat though the outer advancing edge may have a slight edge. it clears from the center (thus often described as a ‘bulls eye’) and there can be multiple large irregular areas of involvement at the same time.
    If bitten by a tick that has had its blood meal and in peak season, best to get antibiotics rather than ‘wait and see’. One of the latest recommendations for prevention is a single dose of doxycycline.

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