Reporting John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Ticks and fleas are the scourge of any pet owner.
Right now, those pests are enjoying a fall resurgence of substantial proportions and local vets have their hands full and pet owners need to be on the alert.
With the cooler temperatures has come a dramatic increase in the tick population.
Your pet is a walking smorgasbord waiting for a tick to climb on board.
“He had one on his neck a couple of days ago and we had to pull it off of him,” Alex Tatangelo said.
The blood-suckers go from rodents, to birds, to pets and people spreading whatever they find from one host to another.
“Everybody’s heard of Lyme disease. There’s Rocky Mountain spotted fever, bebisiosis, viruses bacteria, you name it, they can carry it,” Dr. Mike Hutchinson with Animal General said.
Paula Nathaniel has been fighting Lyme disease from a tick for five years. She meticulously checks her dogs and said there’s no question this is a nasty year for ticks.
“Really bad, especially my little black dog you pick them off weekly,” Nathaniel said.
“Fortunately, ticks have to be attached to your dog or yourself for 24 hours to transmit those diseases,” Dr. Sandra Sargent said.
That is why Dr. Sargent said to check your pet every day they go outside.
“You just want to start with looking at their head and face because ticks like to get up here around the ears,” Dr. Sargent said.
Then, work your way all the way down the body to the tip of the tail.
But what do you do if you find a tick?
“I think the best thing to do is get a sharp pair of tweezers and get it close to the skin and pull it off,” Dr. Hutchinson said.
Or, you can put on gloves to protect yourself
“Just grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can and pull it straight off,” Dr. Sargent said.
The experts said you need to be particularly attentive to the issue of ticks if you live anywhere near the woods, or if your pets tend to wander through the woods at any time.
Monthly treatments are also a good thing to keep up with all year long as well.