Veterinarians say tick problems are in your backyard

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Ticks are a risk if you're hiking, but local veterinarians are seeing more tick problems, right in backyards.

Sue Bond knows there's a chance her dog could get a tick when they're out for a walk, but this past summer the chances have increased, especially in walks by the river.

"Every Sunday that we have been out, one of us has come home with a tick," said Sue Bond.

Veterinarians in the Tri-Cities tell me they are seeing an up-tick of ticks, but what is most surprising is where they are finding them.

"This is the first year I can remember in a long, long time where people are bringing in dogs with ticks out of the backyard," said Pasco Animal Hospital veterinarian, Hank Oliver.

Sue also owns a pet supply business, she says she hears the same things from her customers.

"We've seen a serious uprising from people saying that they're finding ticks in their own backyard, their dog went out for ten minutes, came back in and had ticks," said Bond.

What's so dangerous, is that ticks in our area can cause paralysis. Vets say the key to keeping your pet safe is awareness.

"Groom your dog regularly, look it over frequently and you can apply any of the preventatives that are for the control of ticks," said Dr. Oliver.

If the tick gets embedded and needs to be removed by a doctor, office visits often start at $50, tick repellants can start as low as $15, but being diligent is the key.

"They like to hide between dog toes, they like to hide in the little folds in the ears, just because you look at your dog, doesn't mean they're not carrying a tick," said Bond.

Vets say it's important that if you find a tick on your pet, don't squeeze it. The virus can get into your pet's blood, which could lead to paralysis.

"They have nothing to do with cleanliness, your neighborhood, it's just been a bad year, the heat brings them out," said Bond.

Take your dog to the vet if you notice sluggish behavior or a loss of appetite, this could be a sign of a tick bite or many other illnesses.