When summer heats up, ticks often put dogs and cats in a dangerous situation. The Animal Services of Wichita Falls has been seeing an increase of animals coming in covered with these bugs.
"Spring and summer are heavy seasons where we do pick up a lot of dogs and cats with ticks and fleas. They've been extremely bad this time of year" said Animal Services Administrator Katrena Mitchell.
Whether it's playing in the backyard or while out on a walk, ticks can hitch a ride on your pet anytime. Mitchell said pet owners should give their pets tick and flea prevention medication since ticks can be found anywhere. Medication is available by pill or drops that go in between the shoulder blades.
These blood suckers can transmit dangerous diseases, which include Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever with symptoms that include a circular rash, fever and muscle ache.
"Dogs that come in when they're covered in ticks may be anemic and they may also be lethargic. They don't have any energy and their gums may be pale" said Mitchell.
Signs of tick-borne diseases may not appear for seven to 21 days or longer, so experts recommend watching your pet closely for changes in behavior or appetite. Ticks can often jump from animals to humans which is why experts say pet owners also need to take proper precautions.
"When you're feeding them, run your hands over them and check for ticks and fleas. And if you're taking them for walks make sure that when you come back you're brushing them and you're paying attention to see if they're hiding in the fur" said Mitchell.
When walking their dog, pet owners should cover as much skin as possible when outdoors. Using insect repellent that contains 20% of more of the active ingredient DEET will help keep ticks away.
To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets:
-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.