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Can You Test this Tick for Lyme Disease?

Can You Test this Tick for Lyme Disease?

I get this question once in a while: I pulled a tick off of my dog, can you test the tick for lyme disease?

Yes we can. Preserve the tick in a clean, dry, container filled with rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol - which is a common household antiseptic many of us have in our medicine cabinet).

Step 1: Properly identify the tick since there are many species of ticks.  Since some  diseases are transmitted only through certain tick species, we need to know what kind of tick we are dealing with in order to request the appropriate test. Many ticks may look similar, so to be as accurate as possible, we submit tick identification requests to veterinary parasitology specialists.

Step 2: After the tick species has been identified, select which disease(s) to test for. It's possible that a certain tick may not be a carrier for any kind of disease -which would be great news. If it's an ixode (deer) tick, then the laboratory may recommend testing the tick for lyme infection, etc.
 Additional information:

-Ticks are in the environment year-round. They tend to be in grassy and wooded areas but they can also be found in more urban towns such as Edgewater. Ticks tend to be smaller in the winter months and larger in the summer/fall.

-Ticks may attach to any part of the body but generally around the head and face, chest and extremities.  With hair on our dogs, it can be very difficult to see attached ticks. -The longer a tick is attached to a dog, the greater likelihood it is to transmit disease.  In other words, if you find and remove a tick within 24 hours of being attached, it will reduce the likelihood of transmitting disease.-Remove ticks with a tick removing device or tweezers, do not use a match to burn off, and do not use bare fingers. Do not crush ticks after removing them.-To prevent ticks, use a once a month preventive, many are topical liquids/oils applied to the skin monthly. New preventives are once a month oral pills. Prescription tick collars and shampoos can be effective. Follow instructions carefully on package inserts to minimize any side effects.

-consider lyme vaccination depending on the lifestyle of your pet.

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