Use Flea and Tick Protection to Prevent Potentially Fatal Diseases

Use Flea and Tick Protection to Prevent Potentially Fatal Diseases


Once rescued, Marty was deeply loved and received the best care possible. However, it was not enough to save his kidneys from the damage caused by Lyme disease. He recently passed peacefully in his foster mom’s arms. Read his final update (and please, protect your pets from flea- and tick-borne diseases).
Originally posted on April 11, 2019

Marty’s story—a Golden boy in trouble

Marty 19-003 doesn’t think he’s special. In his mind, he’s just one of the boys in his happy, dog household.

He loves his foster mom, Gretchen August, and her whole family. When he first arrived at Gretchen’s house, however, he didn’t react well to the resident dogs. But now he genuinely likes them. They don’t attack and try to kill him like the dogs he grew up with in northern Minnesota.

While he moves like a much older dog, he loves to play outside barking at chipmunks, digging in the snow, messing with his pals. Inside, he’s a mischievous guy, hiding slippers and playing with every squeaky toy—every day. He spends hours at his front door window spot, basking in the sun.

Marty is in pain it seems, but otherwise acts like a normal seven-year-old Golden boy. Except he will never reach eight.

A rough start

Gretchen took Marty to the vet right away when he joined her family, because he’d obviously been through a lot. He was skinny, weak, and pretty beaten up from fighting for his life or even for scraps of food.

He walked painfully, like he was a much older dog. When his test results came in, his humans knew he was seriously ill.

Marty has Lyme disease and anaplasmosis—blood diseases spread by deer ticks, which are common throughout the Midwest. If his condition had been caught earlier, he might have had a chance for recovery.

Instead, Marty is now in the advanced stages of kidney failure as a result of these diseases. He will live out his remaining days receiving loving attention and hospice care in his foster home. Whenever Gretchen thinks about Marty’s plight, she gets upset.

“Marty doesn’t have a rare or unusual condition,” she said. “The diseases he is suffering from are 100% preventable with the regular application of flea and tick treatments. But we are going to lose a beautiful Golden boy, years too soon, because he did not receive these meds. It is just heartbreaking.”

Dangerous—but preventable and treatable

Conditions such as Lyme disease and anaplasmosis are dangerous. But they are treatable if caught early and totally preventable through vigilant use of flea and tick prevention techniques. At a minimum, every time your dog has been outside (even in an urban area) you should give your dog a quick once-over, looking for signs of fleas and ticks.

Preventive measures range from repellent collars to medications that make a “host,” such as a dog or human, unappetizing to fleas and ticks. Talk to your vet about recommended flea and tick prevention products and procedures.

Now is the time to begin flea and tick prevention

Flea and tick season has begun! For detailed discussion of flea- and tick-borne diseases, as well as proven preventive measures, RAGOM recommends that you seek the advice of professional and trusted resources such as your vet, as opposed to internet chat rooms or word of mouth.

The following resources are good places to start. Search these websites for “Fleas and Ticks”:



American Veterinary Medical Association

To read more about Marty and follow his story, visit his RAGOM web page.