Warmer weather puts people, pets at risk for ticks

Veterinarian: 'Every day we see a positive test'

ROANOKE, Va. – Watch your step outside because ticks are out there.

More than 1,000 Virginians were bitten by ticks in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, veterinarian Dr. Thomas Blaszak of the Roanoke Animal Hospital says pets, especially dogs, are even more at risk.

"We run tick tests, which are blood tests to see if dogs have been exposed to tick-borne diseases," Blaszak said. "I can tell you, every day we see a positive test."

Ticks are nearly impossible to see but they carry potentially devastating diseases such as Lyme Disease. Blaszak says they become a much bigger issue when the weather starts to heat up.

"People are outside more, the ticks are breeding more, they hatch and they attach themselves to dogs and people," Blaszak said. "It's easy to get bitten and not even know it. There are places where sometimes even we miss it."

Blaszak strongly suggests pet owners get anti-tick medication before the ticks spread any further than they have.

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