FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (May 19, 2011) - What is a tick-borne disease'

Ticks carry diseases that can be transmitted to animals and humans.

When a tick attaches itself to a mammal, the disease is introduced into the blood stream, which can affect the mammal and potentially give them the disease.

What are some tick-borne diseases I should be worried about'

There are many diseases that ticks carry. One of the most common tick-borne diseases on the East Coast is Lyme disease.

However, there are extensive amounts of tick-borne diseases including Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

How do I know if I or my pet has been exposed to a tick-borne disease'

Testing positive for a tick-borne disease does not necessarily mean that the mammal is sick, only that it has been exposed though the tick bite.

However, it is important to watch for any symptoms of a tick-borne disease, which usually include: anorexia, depression, lethargy or fatigue, and swollen, painful joints.

What should I do if I notice these symptoms in myself or my pet'

If you think you have been exposed to a tick-borne disease, seek medical treatment.

If you think your pet has been exposed, make an appointment with your local Veterinary Treatment Facility, where they can take a simple blood test to determine if your pet has been exposed and provide antibiotics if necessary.

What can I do to prevent a tick-borne disease'

After going through a wooded area, check yourself and your pet for any noticeable ticks.

Also, applying a flea and tick preventative once a month can help prevent tick-borne diseases in your pet.

These preventatives are carried at your local Veterinary Treatment Facility and include: Frontline, Advantix, Vectra and Advantage.

Editor's note: Black is an animal care specialist at Fort Meade's Veterinary Treatment Facility