Mild winter means lasting tick season

Reported by: Katherine Underwood

Videographer: M. Wickham
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Updated: 3/14/2012 3:59 pm
It's officially tick season, but according to a local veterinarian, last year's tick season really never ended.

That means battling ticks has been a year-long task for pet owners.

These spring-like temperatures have pulled everyone outside with their pets this week.

So, veterinarian Dr. Holly Cheever tells us if you haven't started using a tick repellant, you better start now.

We spent Tuesday afternoon at The Crossings of Colonie, and we met plenty of dog owners out for a walk with their pups.

But while 'Jeter,' 'Dublin,' and 'Linus,' enjoyed the warm weather, so too did the ticks.

And the pesky parasites have been doing so all winter long.

“Annoying, it’s very annoying,” said Colonie dog owner Todd Bloom.

“During the winter he did have a couple on him,” explained Alex Morales of Troy referring to Linus.

“Every month there have been ticks appearing on someone's dog or cat,” Dr. Cheever said.

Cheever’s been advising pet owners to use flea and tick repellant through the winter.

While most of us know the deer tick carries Lyme disease, Dr. Cheever says we also need to worry about the common, big brown, wood ticks.

Morales tells us what it was like when Linus got Lyme disease a couple years ago.

“He had trouble eating his food, bending down he would whimper a lot,” he said.

Lethargy, poor mobility, and fever are common symptoms of Lyme disease and though it can be treated, it can also be deadly.

“Every time he is near the woods we have to comb him, they're just all over him,” Morales said.

And those fleas and ticks can hitch-hike right into your home – raising even more concerns.

“Especially if the dog falls asleep with you,” explained Muffin’s owner Lexi Nahl of Menands. “You don't want a tick yourself.”

Cheever’s advice is to use tick repellant regularly, conduct thorough inspections every time your pet is outside -- and she says with the prevalence of ticks this year, it's better to be safe than sorry.

If your pet is acting differently for more than 24 hours, Cheever says it's time to bring them in.

She tells us some animals won't show symptoms of a tick-born disease, so it's very important to get them a yearly blood test to make sure they're healthy.

For more information on fleas, ticks, and Lyme disease, CLICK HERE.

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