It’s fun to go on hikes and commune with nature, fun to see a deer wander into your yard, and fun to take your furry friends with you. Who doesn’t love cross-species friends—like how cheetahs are given dog companions to teach them to like and trust humans? Why would Fido loving up on a deer or sniffing a rabbit be anything more than a great photo op?
Well, because wildlife can carry parasites, and those parasites can transmit disease.
If you live on the east coast, you’re probably accustomed to getting warnings about deer and other wildlife during tick season. Deer carry ticks that can carry Lyme Disease, and outdoor pets (dog or cats) risk bringing ticks home with them. You should always check not only yourself, but your pets when you come inside. (And don’t forget to watch yourself for the tell-tale bullseye rash that comes with Lyme Disease around the site of a tick bite. Not everyone gets the rash, but most do!).
But it’s not just ticks, and it’s not just the East coast. Even here in Colorado we have to watch out for parasites. Fleas from Denver down to New Mexico and Arizona can carry the plague (yes, like the one that wiped out much of Europe once upon a time). Rabbits, mice, voles, and other furry wildlife can carry fleas, and humans are most likely to get them via their dogs (oh, those curious explorers).
In fact, almost half a dozen people have had to be treated for pneumonic plague this summer after a dog contracted the disease (the dog, sadly, did not survive, the humans have all been treated).
Keep pets safe by:
-Keeping them on leash for hikes
-Discouraging small rodents from living in your yard (assuming your dog has free roam)
-Calling pest control to remove dead animals, which tend to have far more fleas
-Take steps to prevent fleas (either naturally or traditionally)
And consider adding a little colloidal silver to the water bowl of outdoor pets (support their immune system while helping to keep the water fresh!). And of course support your immune system with colloidal silver, too!
And while we’re on the subject of wildlife, a quick heads-up to Texas folk (and possibly those in surrounding areas like Oklahoma): beware the kissing bug, which has made its way to the states. Many carry a deadly illness, which is transferred with just one bite. Researchers are asking anyone who spots one to mail it in so they can track the range and test for illness. More info here.
Have you had any adventures with wildlife this summer?