How to protect your pet from tick-borne diseases

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tick season is here, and if your pet spends any time in the grass or woods, chances are you have spotted the blood-sucking creatures on yourself or your pet. There are several tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, that can be serious for humans and pets.

In a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney has some simple ways to help protect your pet.

Meet Simon -- he's a 120-pound Saint Bernard and full of energy. But last year, he was in really bad shape. "He couldn't even stand, he had a fever of 106, I think it was. I thought he was gonna die," said Jennifer Lyne, Simon's owner.

Simon was diagnosed with a serious case of tick-borne Lyme disease. Fortunately, with antibiotics, a steroid and IV fluids, he made a full recovery.

Now the boys and their mom check for ticks daily, so he won't get sick again.

"If you find a tick, don't panic, especially if it's just crawling around and not attached. Not all ticks carry disease," said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports Health Editor. "And if a tick is embedded for less than 24 hours, it greatly reduces the chance of your pet getting a tick-borne disease like Lyme."

So always remove any ticks immediately. To remove the embedded ones, use a fine-nosed tweezer. And keep an eye on your pet for suspicious symptoms. "It's also important to use an oral or a topical anti-tick medication on your pet for the best protection. But be sure to check with your vet before you use any of these treatments," said Roberts.

Your yard is the next battleground. Keep the grass cut low and clear out leaf piles that deprives ticks of a hiding place.

Bait boxes are another type of tick prevention measure to install on your lawn. But you will need to check with a licensed pest control professional to see what type of anti-tick technology is allowed in your community.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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