Steps you can take to keep ticks off your pet - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Steps you can take to keep ticks off your pet

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

There's a warning to pet owners.  Ticks are out in force and targeting dogs and other animals across western Massachusetts.

Doctors are urging people to take action now before ticks are found.

Plenty of dogs were outside Tuesday enjoying a warm walk down the street, but down at the Easthampton Animal Hospital, dogs - and other pets for that matter - are lining up day-after-day with ticks latching on and not letting go.

"This year, we're seeing a lot of ticks," said Dr. James Hayden

Hayden told Western Mass News that in his 34 years in the field, tick season has always been a problem - only now, ticks have become a year-round chore based on the weather.

Dogs will most likely get them in wooded areas and fields, anywhere with tall grass or brush.

Hayden showed us two brown ticks that he just took off a dog.

"This is a tick that has engorged with blood," Hayden said.

Some are even smaller, like deer ticks, just the size of a pencil tip.

Nearly, a dozen dogs came to the hospital for ticks last week alone.  It's a problem that doesn't seem to be going away, but it can be prevented.

"What they can do is put them on a tick preventative.  We have oral preventatives, we also have topical," Hayden explained.

Types range from tick treats and pills, to topical medicines for the fur, or even collars and while nothing is 100 percent tick proof, it will help in the long run.

Hayden also recommends the Lyme disease vaccine for those pets who seem to be tick magnets, like Bubbles, a rescue pit-bull from the Bronx.

"She picks them up and then she comes in the house and if I don't check her over, I can find them," said Rebecca Lockhart of Easthampton.

Lockhart has even found some in her own bed to keep them both safe.  She gives Bubbles the pill version of the medicine.

"It costs more, but it's definitely worth it," Lockhart said.

The Center for Disease Control, or CDC, said that tick-borne disease may not even appear until three weeks after a bite and is urging you to check your pets daily, remove ticks right away with sharp tweezers and keep that lawn cut.  It just may lessen the chance of another tricky tick.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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