UT Expert Predicts Bigger Tick Season This Spring

Springtime sure is sweet in East Tennessee. Daffodils and redbud trees are blooming and it’s that time of year when it seems as if everything is bursting to life—unfortunately, that includes ticks.

In fact, WBIR recently reported that East Tennessee is expected to have a bigger than usual tick season this spring. Dr. Graham Hickling, associate professor of forestry, fisheries and wildlife at UT, appeared on the segment and said that he expected this would be a bigger tick season than average due to our mild winter.

Hickling noted that dog ticks and lone star ticks may be the biggest risk this spring because they reach adulthood at this time of year. Dog ticks can transmit the flu-like disease Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which is the top tick-borne disease in the spring. Hundreds of cases are recorded each year in East Tennessee.

The lone star ticks can carry ehrlichia, which infects red blood cells and can result in lethargy, loss of appetite, or lameness in animals. It’s also concerning because ehrlichia is a zoonotic disease—meaning it can be passed from animals to humans—and is particularly dangerous for young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems.

The black-legged deer tick can transmit Lyme disease, which is on the rise in East Tennessee. Hickling notes that the Tennessee Department of Health reported there were 38 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the state last year, up from 23 cases in 2016.

As discussed in 4 Key Facts to Consider For Tick Prevention, tick related diseases can be debilitating, with symptoms ranging from lethargy to paralysis and even death. Ticks can be as small as a grain of sand and can easily burrow into your pet’s fur, so visual examinations are often unreliable.

However, if you do find a tick on your pet it’s best to bring him or her to your veterinarian or to a PetWellClinic®. Veterinarians have instruments designed to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible to remove the entire tick, including the head. It’s also important for the veterinarian to make a note in your pet’s medical record regarding the type of tick in case clinical signs of tick-borne diseases arise.

Although there is a vaccine to protect against Lyme disease, vaccines aren’t available for all the tick-borne diseases your pets may encounter, and vaccinations wouldn’t prevent dogs or cats from bringing ticks into your home. To keep your pet healthy and your home safe, it’s essential to consistently use a quality tick preventive product.

Products like Bravecto provide the broadest coverage by fighting against four species of ticks as well as fleas. Bravecto is a chewable tablet that provides 3 months of tick and flea coverage. PetWellClinic® offers a variety of affordable, high-quality chewable and topical tick prevention products, such as Bravecto, as well as Simparica, Activyl, Parastar, and Revolution. Our staff can help you determine which one is best for your pet, and can help you with heartworm and flea prevention products as well.

PetWellClinic® offers quick in-and-out service during convenient evening and weekend hours with no appointment necessary. To see how we’re able to offer more affordable pet care without compromising quality, take a look at our free and quick guidebook to see how PetWellClinic® can save you time and money.

PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919; and 228 S. Calderwood Street, Alcoa, TN 37701. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for top quality, affordable pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.


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