Filed Under (day to day, house) by Rachel on 04-04-2008

As my long-time readers know, we live on the North Shore of Massachusetts, just up the hill from a gorgeous public beach. We also live on a “neck”, or a peninsula, so we are surrounded on 3 sides by salt marsh or ocean, only connected to the “mainland” by a strip of road called a causeway. Any time that the tides are high and it rains, there is the possibility of the causeway being covered by water, which means we are either stuck at home or stuck away from home. We have a lot of “greenspace” near our house, so we end up with a fair number of wild animals, which seem to each carry their own fun problems.

Today’s a dreary, damp, rainy day, and those days tend to bring out dark thoughts. I was just made aware that a coyote attacked a dog in a neighboring town! Eeep! We are always on the alert for coyotes and foxes, as there are quite a few around the area. Yuki will be on enforced “indoor cat” mode – sometimes on pretty days we let her out for a bit. Maybe not during coyote mating season!

Meanwhile, let’s talk about other animal safety. Avoid wild animals. Keep your pets under your control at all times – you really don’t want your dog in isolation because of a rabies scare from an unknown wild critter!

As a family that has more than its fair share of Lyme disease, please vaccinate your dogs against Lyme! And then also use a flea & tick killer for them. We think at least one of us got Lyme from a tick which dropped off the dog and onto a bed or chair. Not Good.

As a family, we have made the decision that in our neighborhood, in our situation, the risk of cancer from DEET is less of a worry than the risk of Lyme from not using DEET on the humans in the house. Every family should make that decision for themselves, but think hard and research it from both perspectives. Ticks can be anywhere. I’ve found them on kids after they ran in the field next to the library. Since ticks are active from 40F on up, it’s time to keep an eye out.

As a less serious tip, make sure you have a cooler that closes when you go to the beach! Sea gulls are thieves. They will steal any and every piece of food they come across. So pack your beach snacks in a tote bag that zips shut or a picnic basket with a lid! My darling girls have been in tears more than once when a sea gull snagged their bag of Salt & Vinegar potato chips. It may be comical watching a sea gull fly away with a full bag of chips, but then you just lost $3 worth of chips, and you’re nowhere near a store.

Anyone have any other animal warnings? We’ve also dealt with raccoons and skunks, but those weren’t as much of a big deal. Be wary of random animals, but enjoy the nice weather that is allegedly coming soon!


Ms. Pope on 5 April, 2008 at 8:10 am #

Sure! If you see a javelina (wild boar), climb the nearest tree. If you hear a rattlesnake, walk the other direction. Don’t play with spiders, especially if they have a red spot on their belly. Can you tell I grew up in Texas?

Karen on 5 April, 2008 at 11:10 pm #

My vet’s recommendation for dogs and ticks is to use a topical like Frontline-plus and to add a Preventic collar when going out. As you know, we’re in the center of the target area too. Of course, the only tick pulled last year was on the one dog who never left the mid city yard other than a car ride to the vet’s for the whole season. Not the kids running through the woods, not me, not the dog who went with us all over. Go figure.

My vet recommends against the Lyme vaccine based on some research out of Cornell (and Tufts, IIRC) on long term side effects and what _may_ be worse symptoms in those animals vaccinated and infected. (The latter could also be that the strains that aren’t affected by the vaccine may just cause that range of symptoms).

I found this online that refers to these effects:

Besides the people I’ve known over the years (including you :( ) who’ve dealt with Lyme, I’ve dealt with it in animals for decades, including losing m own heart dog to it. I found my vet’s information compelling enough to change my mind on the vaccine for the dogs and the kids. It was also a bit distressing as I’d had myself vaccinated about a month prior.

I hate choices like this. I’ve opted for lots of visual checks and judicious DEET as well.

north shore public library on 19 April, 2008 at 3:16 am #

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salt water ocean animals on 6 May, 2008 at 11:13 am #

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    • A Gaggle of Girls

      About Me: I'm a Mom living a busy life with 3 girls (11, 9, 6) who have just started school for the first time, Celiac Disease, , Chronic Lyme Disease which acts like Fibromyalgia, job-hunting, 1 cat, 1 puppy in exile, and a lot of books as we stay with family in New England. We eat great, homecooked, allergy safe food due to our food allergies & sensitivities.


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