Local veterinarian: worst year yet for ticks

Local vets say this is the worst year they have ever seen for ticks. (Photo: MGN Online)

Local veterinarians say they are seeing an up-tick in cases of a potentially harmful pest. Reports of ticks are on the rise, being found on both children and pets in our area.

Eight-year-old Olivia Salafia did not expect to find a tick on her after a Girl Scout retreat. Her mother, Jamie, said it never crossed her mind that it could have been a tick since it is starting to get cold.

"I lifted up her hair and saw something burrowing in the back on her neck," Jamie said.

She said her first thought was to get it off of her daughter.

"I grabbed it out with my fingers," Jamie Salafia said.

Local vets like Christina Nemcheck at Coldwater Animal Hospital said this is the worst year for ticks she has ever seen.

"We have seen a lot more Lyme Disease in the area," Nemcheck told 13WHAM News. "When I started practicing here 16 years ago, we never saw ticks, ever!"

She said a common misconception is not helping the rise in tick-related diseases, like Lyme disease in people and pets.

"People say it's cold, I'm safe, winter is here," Nemcheck continued. "Not with ticks. You can see ticks anytime."

Ticks can burrow under leaves and can survive the winter. Experts said whether with kids or pets, check clothing and skin when you come inside.

Entomologists said climate change and deer migration might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area.

If you do find a tick on you, a child or pet, remove it immediately with tweezers by pulling it straight out.

The CDC recommends watching for signs of illness such as rash or fever in the days and weeks following the bite, and seeing a health care provider if any signs or symptoms develop.

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