CONCORD, Ohio - A surge in the tick population across Northeast Ohio has experts warning both people and their pets to be extra careful this year.
Dr. Joel Percival, at Big Creek Veterinary Hospital in Concord says 15 years ago they might have seen one pet all summer exposed to a tick, but now they see multiple animals or more each week.
“They weren’t too bad for a long time,” said Dr. Percival. “But there’s a lot more wildlife around here than years ago with the deer, raccoons, skunks and possum which can all carry a tick.”
He says ticks can carry and spread diseases which can be fatal to pets.
To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets, the Ohio Department of Health recommends the following:
- Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors
- If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away
- Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam
- Talk to your veterinarian about tick-borne diseases in your area
- Reduce tick habitat in your yard
- Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet
Dr. Percival says a Lyme disease vaccine is also a good idea.
“There’s no vaccine for people but we do have one for dogs,” said Dr. Percival, “If you live in a tick endemic area, which we are now, it’s a very good idea to get it.“
Humans must also be vigilant about their own health and tick prevention, especially during the warmer months from April through September.
Each year thousands of people in the United States contract Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick. And this year experts told Fox 8 News that another potentially fatal tick-borne illness, called Powassan virus is on the rise.
The Ohio Department of Health recommends people:
- Avoid tall grass and wooded areas
- Use tick repellent
- Conduct full body checks and shower after going outside
- Check your clothing and gear
And because people can be exposed to a tick and not know it; they say pay attention to your health.
Seek medical attention right away if you notice any growing circular rashes, feel fatigued with chills, have a headache and/or body aches
For more tips on tick-borne illnesses and how to properly remove a tick CLICK HERE.