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Hubbard County is a high-risk zone for ticks

Hubbard County is a hot spot for ticks and the diseases they carry.

Diseases have become more prevalent for humans and pets and the Minnesota Department of Health has several recommendations to prevent tick-borne disease.

Blacklegged ticks are found in wooded, brushy areas.

Unless someone is spending time in that kind of setting, simply being in a high-risk county won't place a person at risk, according to MDH. But if hiking on area trails or spending time camping, make sure to walk in the center of the trail to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush.

Use a good tick repellent:

n Products containing permethrin, which are used on clothing, are especially recommended for people who will be spending an extended period of time in possible tick habitat. Do not use permethrin on your skin.

n Standard DEET-based products are another option. Use a product containing no more than 30 percent DEET for adults.

Concentrations up to 30 percent DEET are also safe for children. Do not use DEET for infants under two months of age.

Follow the manufacturer's directions for all repellent applications.

n Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

n Tuck pants into the top of socks or boots to create a "tick barrier."

n Wear light colored clothes to make it easier to spot ticks.

n Check frequently for ticks and remove them promptly.

Ticks must remain attached for one to two days before they can transmit the Lyme disease bacteria, however some research suggests that human anaplasmosis could be transmitted more quickly, according to MDH.

Symptoms for these diseases can include feeling tired and achy. Antibiotic treatment can be used.

Check the hairline and behind the ears and points of clothing constriction (behind knees, waist line, and arm pits).

MDH also has suggestions for people who live near the woods:

n Keep the lawn mowed short.

n Remove leaves and clear the brush around the house and at the edges of the yard.

n Keep children's play-sets or swing-sets in a sunny and dry area of the yard.

n Make a landscape barrier (such as a three foot wide border of wood chips) between the lawn and the woods.

Pets are also at risk for tick-borne disease.

Local veterinarians have seen increasing numbers of pets being brought in for treatment of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.

Dr. Mia Long, with Ark Animal Hospital, said she recommends several ways to protect pets from tick-borne diseases. Dogs are the most common pet seen for these diseases.

There are products applied directly, collars and sprays. The right type of protection or combination is different for each dog, she said.

"It depends on the dog's risk factors, such as if it swims," Long said.

Also, if there are children in the house that I taken into consideration because some of the products are toxic.

"Owners need to do a daily tick check and if the tick is removed quickly it can prevent diseases," she said.

The tick ranges have expanded and Hubbard County is in a high risk zone, she said.

Long has seen a dog come in with two or three diseases. For the most part these are treatable but some dogs could develop kidney disease.

There is also concern for cats and tick-borne diseases, she said, although it's not seen as often.

Dr. Bill Isaacson, with Isaacson Veterinary Clinic, said he has seen more dogs coming in with tick-borne diseases in the last few years. Horses have also had diseases from ticks.

"We see many animals testing positive for Lyme disease and anaplasmosis," he said. "We're in a high incidence area."

He said a vaccine is available as well as topical products for prevention.

Symptoms in dogs can include lameness, soreness, loss of appetite and fever.

"Some dogs are so sore that they won't move at all," Isaacson said.

It is best to talk with a veterinarian about the best options for a dog because it can vary.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561