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Check self, kids and dogs for ticks to prevent disease

American Dog Ticks are prevalent this time of year in hot weather. Experts say they carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — They're not just gross, they can also be dangerous --  ticks!

If you've been out enjoying the warmer weather, you may have noticed more of them crawling around. 

Dr. Brooke West of West Toledo and Perrysburg Animal Hospitals hates ticks, especially since they love her patients so much.

"They're everywhere right now and they've gotten worse and worse every single year," West said.

It is important to check our pets before they come in the house because ticks carry disease, West said. Ticks especially like the ears, legs and feet, she said.

"That's where they grab them when they're running through the tall grasses. They'll grab there here on their skin and they'll migrate their way here," West said.

"Once we hit those warm, sunny days that's when we start getting the questions and concerns," said Lana Glore, environmental Health Director for the Wood County Health Department. 

Glore said the types of ticks we're seeing now are American Dog Ticks, which carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and can infect both dogs and humans.

"That's why we're concerned and we want to get them off of us as soon as possible and not let them feed on us," Glore said. "Statistics say if you get it off within 48 hours that disease transmission likelihood is very slim." 

Often our pets bring the ticks to us, so it's not only important to check them for the bugs but to also use preventative measures for our own protection as well, West said.

"If you have them on a tick prevention, that should inhibit them from being able to spread any of that disease. They should die off in the first bite," West said.

Vets also do regular screenings for common tick diseases.

RELATED: Ticks, tick-borne illnesses on the rise in Michigan

Pet owner Dan Socie said he takes steps to prevent ticks from getting into his house. "We're pretty regular on his tick medication and we also have tick boxes in our yard that our landscape company provides," he said.

The effort is worth it to keep up with the tick treatments, Socie said. 

"So he stays healthy and happy and roams the back yard free and not have to worry," Socie said.

If you find a tick, don't squeeze it off. "It's always recommended that fine-tipped tweezers and try to get those mouth parts out with it. Nice, soapy water wash of the area once you get it off," Glore said. 

RELATED: How to prevent a tick from getting on your skin

Glore said the American Dog Tick will become less active in July and August, but then deer ticks take over in the fall. They're the type that carry Lyme Disease. 

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