Neem Oil For Pets

How do you keep your pets safe from Lyme? Your pup longs to wiggle in the grass and charge after squirrels through the brushy hillsides. Now that spring is almost here, your little bud will be expecting more outdoors time. Thank goodness for dog parks, where you can let him run around with his doggy pals and burn off some of that exuberance. But in all these scenarios, you worry about his exposure to ticks. Read more about Lyme in dogs.

If you're looking for a natural or botanical alternative to harsh chemical pesticides, you might consider shampooing your furry friend with a pet shampoo containing Neem oil. The Neem is one of the trees in the magnificent Mahogany family, and the oil is made by pressing its seed kernels. Neem oil smells bitter, like garlic.

Neem oil is an excellent moisturizer with medicinal and insecticidal qualities, as well as potent antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It has been used with success to repel or kill fleas and ticks. It also kills mange mites, and will protect your pup from biting flies and mosquitoes. However, it is non-toxic to mammals, birds, bees and earthworms. So, let your dog out to enjoy a spring romp, and remember that keeping him safe from ticks enhances your chances of staying protected from Lyme and other tick-born diseases.

Spring Cleaning Helps Prevent Lyme

'Spring' and 'cleaning' are two concepts that fit together just right. Ticks that carry Lyme disease do not like clean spaces. Thoroughly cleaning both indoors and outdoors around your house or property can help you feel more protected against ticks. Wild animals are potential carriers of ticks and Lyme. Mice, skunks, squirrels, opossums, feral cats and dogs who roam around looking for a snug hideaway in the cold may squeeze through crawl spaces in your attic or basement.

With the vernal equinox now three weeks away, it's time to bring out the buckets and brooms. While you're sprucing up, keep the following three steps in Lyme prevention in mind.

* Deny access to host critters. Replace torn screens on vents and windows. Plug holes in walls with caulk or concrete. Reduce the gap in doorway thresholds.

* Sanitize your indoor space. Clean floors and carpets, thoroughly clean area rugs and upholstered furniture. Toss out infested pet bedding.

* Clean up your outdoors space. Remove all debris such as leaf and wood piles. Steam or vacuum spider nests.

Peppermint soap is reported to be a strong natural insect repellent. Use it in your daily shower and also while cleaning up your pet's bedding. While cleaning outdoors, always wear protective clothing and take extra precautions against the creatures, such as snakes and insects, that you may stir up. A little Lyme disease prevention goes a long way as anyone with Lyme disease symptoms now knows.

Lyme vaccine in development

On a frigid day in February, this article from the Czech Republic's online newspaper, the Prague Daily Monitor, provides a warm note of hope. All we have to do is hang in there for seven years:

Czech producer may have Lyme vaccine in 7 years
By ČTK / Published 21 February 2008

Olomouc, North Moravia, Feb 20 (CTK) - The development of a vaccine against Lyme disease (borreliosis) will take at least seven years though scientists from the Olomouc-based institute already have its formula, Evzen Weigl, head of the Immunology Institute of Olomouc university, told reporters Wednesday.

The vaccine is being developed by a five-member research team in Olomouc in cooperation with colleagues from the Bioveta pharmaceutical company in Ivanovice, south Moravia.

Bioveta director Libor Bittner told the Ekonom weekly in January that the vaccine is being tested in the Czech Republic and Germany and the results of the tests are expected by July.

"This information has become a media hit, but it has been slightly distorted. So far we have just a prototype of the vaccine, and only on the basis of preclinical trials' results we will seek a strategic partner for the production," said Weigl.

He added that a veterinary version of the vaccine was planned first.

"In the best case, the vaccine might be available in seven years," Weigl said. The vaccine development has continued for 13 years and cost several million crowns. Up to five research teams are working on this task in Europe, Weigl added.

Some 4000 people get annually infected with borreliosis, an infectious disease transmitted by ticks, in the Czech Republic. In 2006, 4370 people caught the disease in the country, which has been the highest figure in the past ten years.

Bioveta, founded in 1951, produces veterinary immunologicals and pharmaceuticals. It exports its products to some 40 countries.

Bioveta has already produced vaccine against Lyme disease for dogs.

The vaccine against encephalitis, another tick-borne disease, has already been developed.

Lyme Disease Mistaken for MS

Getting a correct diagnosis for Lyme disease is a significant step toward getting treatment, yet countless patients are misdiagnosed from the start. Here is a recent account of a North Carolina man who self-diagnosed, after having been put on medication for multiple sclerosis. The article below is from the Raleigh, February 19, 2008.

Patients push boundaries of Lyme disease debate.
Two factions hold opposing views on prevalence of tick-borne disease.

Jean P. Fisher, Staff Writer

Even as mounting evidence suggests the state may harbor more tick-borne illness than records indicate, patients with symptoms that match Lyme disease say doctors continue to turn deaf ears to their complaints. They say people are needlessly going untreated or misdiagnosed, leading to advanced illness and even disability. Read more about lyme disease diagnosis.

Dave Tierney of Cary thinks that's what happened to him. Plagued with unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, eye pain and other problems for years, Tierney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year. In June, he left his job as a pilot with Delta Air Lines and began getting long-term disability benefits.

But after researching his symptoms on the Internet, Tierney became convinced he had chronic Lyme disease. An infectious disease doctor and a specialized laboratory test confirmed it. After three months of intravenous antibiotics, Tierney finds his Lyme symptoms much improved and he is back at the controls of an airplane.

"I could have been on MS medicine for the rest of my life," said Tierney, who returned to work this month.

read the entire article here

Guineafowl eat ticks

In 1992 in New York, Christie Brinkley was concerned about her daughter playing outside in what was known to be an area where tick numbers were high. So she enlisted the aid of her congressman, who initiated a commissioned study to investigate the effectiveness of Guineafowl as tick controllers. Guineafowl, originally from Africa, are feathery foragers with an unusual cry that sounds like "buckwheat, buckwheat!" These critters' diet includes about 90% arthopods, which means they eat ticks. The Duffy study illustrated that Guineafowl could indeed play a significant part in keeping tick numbers down.

Raising Guineafowl takes an effort, but it may be an option if your environment permits. The birds prefer to range throughout an open area, not woodsy, of about three to five acres. They make a loud noise when they're threatened by predators such as hawks overhead or the neighbors' dogs, and your local zoning codes must allow for them.

Guineafowl, like watchdogs, are good at raising an alarm when strangers approach, yet unlike dogs they will not attack. They will eat snakes and other noxious insects besides ticks, such as spiders and mites. If your circumstances allow and if you like the idea of controlling ticks through enlisting the aid of a flock of friendly little birds, Guineafowl can be an important weapon in the battle against Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Causes of Lyme disease other than tick- born?