Tick borne diseases can be a major problems for us and our dogs in certain areas of the country.
Several years ago, one of our Great Pyrenees mamas got sick. Dolly started slowing down. In a matter of days, she was nearly unable to move. I knew there was something wrong when I said “come” and she didn’t even look. Now, I understand that Great Pyrenees are known for being stubborn but they are not known for being stupid. They are among the smartest breeds which makes them a perfect guardian.
I called my veterinarian and said I needed something done fast. I carried Dolly into my car and then into the clinic. A blood test was completed on something that looked like a home pregnancy test stick. Three tick-borne diseases were identified within 15 minutes. The veterinarian said that this is more common than people know and would put her at risk for arthritis down the road. Dolly was started on a 21-day course of Doxycycline. Within three days she was back to normal.
Around that time I repeated this drill with two of my sons to the emergency room. My younger son Josiah became unable to bear weight on his left leg due to swelling in the knee. He was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease and was back to normal in three days after starting a 21-day course of Doxycycline.
I did my research and talked to a few professionals. I settled on purchasing a liquid product called Talstar P that is mixed in a tank sprayer and applied to the yard. You wear a respirator mask and remove all critters or people that you don’t want inhaling the poison. Talstar P worked so wonderfully that every insect died on our property…even the bees. OK, maybe that was an exaggeration as it wasn’t like the “silent spring” but my wife wasn’t happy. Ever seen a #110 angry Swede? Her tree frog pet that joined her on the kitchen window each night suddenly went on a diet and eventually disappeared. I was informed that spraying every area of the lawn was no longer an option. Every now and again I let her believe she gets to call the shots. I did have a brief moment of redemption when my sister in law came to visit in July. She is allergic to mosquitoes. She had only one mosquito bite while she was here. That is miraculous. But, it swelled to the size of a golf ball and required a medication that kept her quite drowsy and in bed.
Up North Pyrenees dogs receive a yearly vaccination for Lyme’s disease and are on oral Bravecto or topical Frontline Plus. This protects them from the ocean of ticks around us. What about my family? What about the mosquitoes and flies that pester all of us and transmit diseases?
Last year was especially dry and insect free. It was the closest thing to heaven that I can imagine. This year is the exact opposite. My t-shirt looked furry from mosquitoes several days ago while working on fencing. However, I have abandoned the scorched earth policy and I am waiting until the fruit trees are done blooming. I will wage war on the insects afterward. I will avoid Amber’s flowers in front of the kitchen window. I am living in the reality of bugs problems and the benefit they provided. But, their time is coming to an end as everyone in our area is noting an uptick in the tick and mosquito population. I understand there may be side-effects for this chemical yet to be seen.
Many of you may be gasping and hoping this story will have a non-chemical twist. Some of you may fear the future consequences of such a dangerous chemical. I am already considering that two of my sons may be at a higher risk of arthritis as well as unknown long-term issues from the ticks. I want my relatives to come visit us in the woods. I want my lawn back or else I’m moving to Arizona. Long live Talstar P!
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Addendum: We now have five guinea hens as of July 20th and they are loving our yard.