Lyme Disease ~ Effective Prevention
Early this past summer, a field trial and hunting friend was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. This came after three years of misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment for what seemed like every illness known to man. At my friend’s insistence that the negative result of his Lyme test was not conclusive, he was prescribed a three week course of doxycycline. His symptoms got worse and Lyme disease was ruled out. Frustrated with the lack of progress and with symptoms becoming more varied and intense, my friend took matters in his own hands. Researching Lyme disease lead him to a doctor with experience treating tick-borne diseases. A positive diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease was quickly made and his long antibiotic treatment began. Although LD is now the most common arthropod-borne illness in the U.S. with more than 150,000 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 1982 and 2010, my friend’s difficulty in getting a correct diagnosis is, sadly, not uncommon.
But it was a relief knowing that he was finally on the road to recovery. Or so I thought.
Unfortunately the “recovery” from chronic Lyme disease, that is to say Lyme disease that is left undetected and untreated in the early stages of infection is, generally, NOT a steady road back to health. It is often long and exhausting — the gradual return to well-being marked by complications and periods of the same severe symptoms experienced prior to treatment. Living with Lyme disease is, without question, life changing.
Witnessing someone battle Lyme disease made me even more diligent about deer ticks, particularly in the spring and fall when I am out training or trialing my dogs. Everyone I know in New England protects their bird dogs by the use of topical sprays or spot-ons that repel and kill ticks. But what about us?
Strideaway has partnered with University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter Resource Center to help make available their great source of up-to-date information on tick-borne disease prevention. Prevention is the key and arming yourself with correct information is the best defense against blood-feeding ticks and the diseases they transmit. Fortunately, if you are willing to be vigilant, the threat can be substantially minimized.
The best line of defense for trialers and hunters is to keep ticks off by wearing tick repellent clothing. Permethrin solutions used to treat fabric are proven to be extremely effective and safe. This video illustrates how Pyrethrum-treated clothing repels and kill ticks. You can buy ready-treated clothing, buy pyrethrum solution designed specifically to treat clothing (a 24 once bottle of Sawyer’s Permethrin Premium Insect Repellent will treat eight articles of clothing that lasts through six washings) or even easier and more convenient, you can send your favorite training/trialing and hunting clothes to Insect Shield for treatment (effective through 70 washings). This summer I treated my bird dog training clothing including my favorite caps (outside and in). Last week I did the same with all my fall trial and upland hunting clothes. Along with continuing to check for ticks and understanding how to correctly remove them, I feel much more confident and enjoy my bird dog activities without the constant worry of ticks.
If you live, train, trial, or hunt where there are deer ticks, please spend some time on the Tick Encounters website and make use of the essential information and resources they make available.
Additional information on Lyme Disease can be found at: