Save the Lizards!

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Yesterday I wrote about Lyme Disease and how to protect yourself and your canine companions since it has been discovered that the ticks in my hometown of Yucaipa, California are carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.  The CDC believes that 300,000 cases of Lyme disease occur a year nationwide.  It is hard to pinpoint exact numbers since they believe many of these cases are undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed.  However, they are clear that in the Northeast and Northern Midwest states that up to 30% of the deer ticks carry the bacteria that is known to cause Lyme disease.  Also there is a 96% occurrence rate of Lyme in 13 states and California is not among those states because we have a natural vaccine program occurring.  Bring in the lizards!

It turns out that nymphal ticks favorite host is our common western fence lizard, which has a protein in its blood that kills the bacterium responsible for Lyme.  This results in few adults ticks growing up to be Lyme carriers.  A limited study also concluded that reducing the population of lizards appeared to reduce tick populations because the ticks did not take to other hosts as readily.  However, scientists have warned that messing with mother nature’s population of lizards could results in the ticks adapting to a new host and thriving without eliminating Lyme.

So in theory you now have two ways to prevent ticks on your dog.  You can either buy a Preventic collar or you can duct tape lizards all over them.  I myself prefer the Preventic collar but the options are available. Most importantly let’s celebrate our western fence lizards and save the lizards!

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