Vets Say Tick Activity Rigorous This Year

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Veterinarians and local health officials are warning residents about the increasing presence of ticks this season.

The Columbiana County Health Department issued a warning Thursday urging residents to take precautions as the insects can carry Lyme disease.

Dr. Jessica Steed at the Austintown Veterinary Clinic said she is also seeing a lot of ticks this year and owners need to know that it’s not just animals that are susceptible, humans can be infected too.

In one recent case, Steed said seven ticks were found on a dog. She said any animal that’s outside is at risk.

Ticks on cats are usually found on their heads where they can’t groom themselves. Cats pose a unique problem because they are sensitive to treatments.

“A lot of times we find them in the ears, either outside or inside, and then around their neck, underneath their chin,” Steed said.

Detecting a tick’s presence, which looks like a small black or brown dot, on an animal early on is key to reducing the chance for the transmittal of Lyme disease. Steed says it takes a few months from the time of the tick bite for the disease to manifest.

“You may notice a rash that looks like a target,” said Dr. Alex Heintzelman, family practitioner. “It will start out kind of as a red blotch. It may progressively get bigger.”

The Ohio Department of Health reported 67 cases of Lyme disease in 2012, up from 50 in 2011.

Health officials urge residents to avoid high grass, dense vegetation and woodlands, tuck socks into pants or boots and wear light colored clothing to make it easier to find crawling ticks. Also, use repellents and check your children and pets often.

While Columbiana County issued a warning for residents about the increasing tick activity, officials with Mahoning and Trumbull County have not.

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