Vets in the area have already seen six cases of Lyme disease this year.

Lyme disease is an infection caused by a tick bite. Ticks are a parasite that survive by feeding off of the blood of a host, such as an animal or human. They aren't particularly prevalent in the Texas Panhandle because they require a certain amount of humidity to grow. However, they can be found just about anywhere.

Ticks can infect their hosts with a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease.

Normally, Lyme disease in not a problem in the Texas Panhandle. However, vets have attributed the rise in cases to a lack of precaution when it comes to people taking their pets on vacation. Now, they are worried that animals are bringing infected ticks back to the Panhandle. Although our climate is not ideal for tick populations, the recent rainfall could allow them to spread quickly.

There are several measures you can take to prevent tick bites with your pets:

  • Clear your yard of tick habitats by mowing frequently, blocking off wooded areas, and applying pesticides
  • Check your animals for ticks regularly
  • Remove ticks from your animals immediately
  • Use tick-killing or preventative products like shampoo, powder, or collars
  • Ask your vet to check for ticks at every visit

To prevent tick bites on humans:

  • Avoid heavily wooded areas and tall grass
  • Wear bug repellent with DEET or use permethrin on clothing
  • Remove ticks from your body immediately
  • Make sure there are no ticks hiding in materials used in wooded areas or tall grass
  • Put clothing worn outside in the dryer for several minutes on high heat

You can learn more about Lyme disease and other tick-born diseases here.