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Veterinarians urge dog owners to be on lookout for tick-borne Lyme disease

Humans are not the only creatures susceptible to tick-borne Lyme disease.

Canines are as well, with dogs far more likely than humans to romp through high, tick-infested grasses, take nice back rolls on the ground, and go out of doors with no protective clothing.

That's why it's particularly important for residents to take protective actions, as well as know what to watch for and steps to take should their companion animals display symptoms.

Keep an eye out for "fever, joint pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, neurologic disorders and difficulty walking," says Tampa-based BluePearl Veterinary Partners.

"Any dog who has fever and is limping should be evaluated" by a vet, said Dr. Jamie Resnick, senior emergency clinician with BluePearl. Watch for limping, especially on different legs at different times.

Other signs of Lyme include dermatitis, depression and vomiting, according to the Vet's Corner section of the Suffolk County SPCA's website. "If left untreated, degenerative joint disease, cardiac disease, kidney disease and even death can follow," the site says.

With tick season now in high gear, residents and visitors to New York should be especially vigilant, as the state is one of the 14 that accounted for 95 percent of confirmed human cases in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the steps BluePearl advises:

Talk to your vet about the pros and cons of approaches that can include vaccination; oral medication; medicated shampoos, powders and tick collars.

Consider treating your yard and home for ticks.

Inspect dogs frequently for ticks, and if one is found, consider using tweezers to remove it, with special care to get the tick's head out.

According to

"Vaccine is not the best prevention, prevention is the best prevention. Treat and check your pet and treat your yard."

"Tick removal should be done by your veterinarian or properly pulled with gentle traction by grasping the head of the tick with tweezers. Never twist or jerk when removing, or this could lead to injecting more of the tick's saliva into the pet, thus causing infection."

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