Whew! Did You Know About this Awesome Resource if You Find a Tick?
There were a ton of things my wife and I knew to expect when we brought home our puppy, Arthur. We were prepared for potty-training and in-house accidents, teaching him how to walk on a leash, and how to interact with other people and dogs. What we didn't expect was just how much time would be devoted to tick removal.
Ticks in the Hudson Valley, NY
It may just be anecdotal, but it seems like tick season is worse than usual this year in the Hudson Valley. After walks around our neighborhood in Newburgh, NY, we would find several of the little blood-suckers clinging to our puppy's coat, and on two occasions, already embedded in his skin. Those were the ones we were obviously most worried about, but luckily there's a helpful resource.
There are several ways to prevent ticks, which we'll get to in a minute, but what about when they've already bitten your pet, or even you? We recently came across a product that could ease your mind if you're worried about that awful disease that many ticks carry: Lyme.
Tick Test Kits
This isn't a new product, but it was new to us. My wife is from California and has little experience with ticks. After she found the first one embedded in Arthur, she tore through the internet to find a way to discover whether or not the tick we discovered carried Lyme, and whether or not he had a risk of being infected.
We found a tick test kit from Cutter that helped relieve our stress about the tick bites. There are also many other businesses, including Tick Check that provide mail-in testing. Not only will they test the tick that you mail to them, but they will also estimate how long the tick has been feeding. It takes a certain amount of hours before there's a risk of Lyme transmission, which they say they can calculate based on the tick's engorgement level (gross, I know). Check out our results below:
The good news for us was that while all the ticks we sent in (and we've had to do it a few times) did test positive for Lyme, none of them had been embedded long enough to transmit the disease. Obviously, this is only a resource after you or a pet is bitten. Here are a few tips on preventing them in the first place.
Avoiding Ticks in the Hudson Valley
The classic advice still holds true: if you're headed outdoors, avoid tall grass and brush when possible, as ticks love to hang out in those areas. Long pants and high socks help keep them away from your skin as well. Light clothing is also recommended, as it makes spotting ticks easier. Bug spray helps as well, and always check yourself (especially in creases and extra-warm areas) after spending time outdoors.
Here's some more advice on what to do if you find a tick (warning: pictures)/ And keep scrolling to check out some awesome Hudson Valley hikes now that you're tick-protected.