Doctors and veterinarians concerned about tick-borne illnesses

State News
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YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WKBN) – With warmer weather finally settling in, there are some hazards to watch out for and one of those is ticks.

Tick-borne illnesses are on the rise across the country, and health officials are noticing the same trend here in the Valley. Eric Barrett, an educator with the Ohio State University Extension Office, said he expects the ticks to become very active in the next week or so.

Our prolonged winter won’t do much to help reduce the number of ticks. Barrett says he still expects them to be numerous this year.

Lyme disease cases have increased in our area over the last several years, so everyone is being cautioned to take extra precautions when spending time outside.

“Try to enjoy nature but also make sure that you are wearing lighter colored clothing, even white socks. Put socks over your pant leg. You might feel like a little bit of a dork, but you can always find those dark-colored ticks on a lighter sock,” Barrett said.

Health officials are concerned about a rare type of tick that has been located in eastern Pennsylvania. Barrett says the ticks are a concern because it can spread a virus that can cause serious health issues.

There have not been any sightings of those types of ticks in our area, but if you do find a tick on you and are concerned, you can bring to the OSU Extension Office to be identified.

Local veterinarian Dr. Brandt Athey, with the Austintown Veterinary Clinic, said they’ve seen an increase in Lyme disease cases in dogs.

The best way to protect your pet is with tick prevention medicine. If your dog isn’t on it yet, you should start now. Also, Athey said you should check your dog often in the summer for ticks. Ticks like warm, dark places so check under the legs and around the neck.

Athey said signs of Lyme disease are different when it comes to dogs.

“What we see in dogs with Lyme disease is really joint pain and kidney disease. You’re probably not going to notice a target lesion. Those are different signs in humans,” Athey said.

If you do find a tick on your dog, Athey said it’s best to bring the dog to your veterinarian to have it removed. It’s important to get all of the tick out to reduce the risk of getting Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is not nearly as common in cats, so a tick preventative is not as important for your feline friends.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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