Tick season brings new worries

MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) – Veterinarians in Western North Carolina are seeing more ticks on animals than usual as the summer season begins.

"Oh, plenty more, " said vet tech Nathan Miller on Tuesday. Miller said he has noticed the increase and attributes it to the mild winter. "And now they are coming back with a vengeance."

Veterinarian Dr. Mark McMahon said it is important to check pets every day for the ticks and use products recommended by your vet to protect the pets.

Even so, it is no guarantee against problems. McMahon said he noticed his own dog limping last weekend and felt tests were needed to see if the animal was sick.

"Lo and behold he has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever." McMahon said that indicates there are ticks carrying the disease and it not only puts pets in danger but people too. He recommends that people check their pets every day for ticks but also check themselves.

Experts say someone doesn't have to own a pet to run the risk of a tick bite. Anyone walking in a grassy area should check themselves, especially around the ankles before going inside. Children should be checked as well and every time they finish playing outside.

Though an increase in the number of ticks has been noted by experts, so far there has not been a significant rise in cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme disease in humans. "But the summer is just starting," said McMahon.