Veterinarians see increase in pet tick-borne diseases

GRAND RAPIDS (WOOD), Mich. — Ticks are returning to Western Michigan as temperatures warm.

In recent years, health experts have noticed an increasing number of people finding ticks and tick bites.

Veterinarians say dogs and cats are equally at risk. They’re seeing more cases in dogs because cats tend to live indoors, but humans can still carry ticks inside and pass them on to their pets.

So far this year, Michigan has tested a total of 184,362 dogs and recorded 4,408 tick cases.

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Commission, there are 11,406 positive cases and 505,815 dogs tested in 2021.

CAPC also expects numbers to increase this year in Western Michigan, where Allegan, Kalamazoo, Van Buren, St. Joseph and Oceana counties are at higher tick risk. In addition, northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are also high-risk areas.

Dr Ryan Carpenter of the Family Friend Veterinary Hospital told News 8 both warm winters and animal migration have led to an increase in tick numbers.

“The deer, the rabbits, the mice are taking them further into the city, and before they get into the woods. We’re seeing deer life as part of the spread,” Carpenter said. “We’ve recently learned that some bird migrations also bring ticks north, so we’re seeing some tick populations migrating from the south.”

Four species of ticks are more prevalent in Michigan. Black-legged tick, also known as deer tick, American dog tick, also known as wood tick, lone star tick, brown dog tick.

Ticks like warm places. Veterinarians recommend examining your pet’s ears, eyes, armpits, and around the collar.

If you see one, Dr. Holly Mincks of Easttown Veterinary Clinic says there’s no need to panic. Instead, remove the ticks and monitor your pet for swelling, redness, fever, and swollen joints. You can use tweezers, but you can also buy tools at your local veterinarian or over the counter.

“If you see a tick that is very wide, you can remove it at home. I recommend buying one of those ticks or tick tornadoes. These are very easy to use. They have a pointed end on the end and you can remove it from the tick Scoop out the underside of the worm and twist it, and it removes everything — the tick and all its parts,” Minks said.

Both doctors recommend that you contact your veterinarian to find the best preventive care.

If you enjoy hiking with your dog or live near wooded areas or lakes, you may want to consider vaccinating your pet for Lyme disease.

You can also do some work in your backyard to reduce the chance of tick transmission. For example, keep grass low and trim shrubs. There are also some animal-friendly topical lawn products that you can use in your backyard.

You can also check out tick app Information on the types of ticks you can see in your area.

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