I hate to say it, but it’s going to be a VERY bad year for any tick-borne diseases and for heartworm. Because of our extraordinarily mild winter, the ticks were active all winter and we didn’t get a hard mosquito kill either. Snowless winters are also very bad for squirrels and other small furries, because they don’t have the snow cover they need to hide, and many have died. Compounding those problems, last year was a bust year for acorns, so a lot of mice and squirrels starved to death last fall. All of those factors mean the ticks have not had a blood meal in months, are going to be traveling further to find it, and they are in greater numbers than they’ve been in years.
I’ve already heard of one of our puppies from last year with a positive Lyme test. I am also sorry to say that (for the first time in my entire breeding life) I am not going to be surprised if one of your dogs comes back positive for heartworm. Sarah says they’ve already seen three positives this spring and it’s going to get worse.
PLEASE REQUEST the SNAP 4DX test! A negative for Lyme does not equal a negative for anaplasmosis or ehrlichia, which can be even worse.
If your puppy comes up positive for a tick-borne disease, a month of doxycyline should set him or her right. Please let me know, but don’t panic. If your puppy comes up positive for heartworm, contact me RIGHT AWAY. There are newer, safer, gentler protocols than the old immiticide (which many vets don’t have on hand anymore anyway, because it’s been short-shipping for months now) and I’d want your baby on those rather than the very harsh treatment. I’ll be happy to advocate for you with your vet if he or she doesn’t want to use the newer dosing.
This concludes your scary health alert of April – back to regularly scheduled puppy love :).