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Spring and summer may be the time of most Lyme disease activity for ticks, but summer is the time when most humans are outside hiking and walking with their dogs. As such, we are concerned about ticks and Lyme disease as well as an ever expanding list of new tick-borne diseases for you and for your dogs.
The issue isn't that ticks carrying the bacterium which causes Lyme disease are as particularly pervasive as they are in New England and the upper Midwest. Yet we are concerned. Our concern stems from one simple fact: in the Bay Area there are pocket areas where rates are so high that every single day dogs will surely get infected.
Lucky for us, right here in our back yard is one of the foremost tick and Lyme disease experts, Dr. Robert S. Lane at UC Berkeley. Dr. Lane has spent decades studying medical entomology, parasitology and tick-borne diseases. Over time we've watched his research, and taken note of what he has to say, particularly his recommendation for using a small dose of Permethrin to prevent tick exposure while hiking.
Permethrin spray is old school for a pesticide chemical, composed of synthetic compounds made to mimic the pyrethrins that are isolated from chrysanthemum flowers. Its advantage is it's very short lived, and ticks hate it. Permethrin breaks down in soil and breaks down in sunlight. Of course, all pesticides are by their nature toxic in some way to some organisms, or they wouldn't be an effective pesticide; so the trick is repelling the ticks and keeping humans and dogs safe.
Urgent note of cat-caution however: high concentration of Permethrin can be fatal to cats. So, take appropriate care around felines and make sure they are not exposed to the spray. We have a new tick collar that has a cat-safe synthetic form of pyrethrin tested and approved for them. These are especially useful for cats and dogs if you live in a wooded area and have lots of ticks near your home. Otherwise, ticks are not such a big deal for cats as they are for dogs and for people who visit wooded areas.
The technique for using Permethrin spray is very inexpensive and simple. For people: What Dr. Lane's team does is put all the outer clothes and shoes and socks for the whole crew into a garbage bag the night before, and spray one spritz of permethrin into the bag opening. No need to saturate the clothes, a single spritz will spread to all the clothes overnight in a dark plastic bag. By the next day you can wear them and ticks will be repelled. As soon as they touch the clothes they dance the "hot-foot-dance" and drop off to the ground. For your dog: just put a light spray over the large fur surfaces and legs of your dog before the hike. Shield the eyes and hold the can not-too-close while sweeping quickly from front to back. Again minimum spray, 3-4 spitzes total. Dr. Lane says no-one has ever had a tick bite since they've used this method and they are in the woods looking for ticks!
With such a simple solution, there's no reason to avoid hiking with your dog. Get out there. Get that exercise. Go on a nature adventure. Just take the Permethrin precaution before heading out.
Summer is the peak season for heartworm. If you don't treat your dog or cat for heartworm every month as recommended, please at least do so this month and next month.
You wanted weekend hours; you got it. Now, you want evening hours? Guess what? We are very pleased to announce that starting August 5th, we now offer new evening hours for your convenience.
Is your dog just the cutest? Calendar cute? Can you imagine a picture of your canine in a calendar?
Learn what you need to know! Join us for an exciting half-day of information and training from veterinary professionals and emergency response experts, and even experience live demonstrations with search-and-rescue dogs to get you inspired and ready for the next earthquake as a pet owner.