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Tick season forecasted to be severe in Southern Maryland

California, MD - Although it is difficult to forecast precisely how active the tick population will be this year, the consensus seems to bring unfortunate news to our four-legged friends. With a plethora of diseases and harmful effects ticks can have on animals and humans alike, it is essential to recognize the importance of spreading awareness of preventive measures to minimize the impact these blood-sucking pests can have.

Anne Forrest, franchise owner of Wag N’ Wash in San Souci Plaza and the previous owner of St. Mary’s Veterinary Hospital, has been working with her husband for over 30 years in the veterinary care field. She has testified that clients that have come into their store all seem to have stories that match the severe tick and flea forecasts put out this year.

“Ticks are bad this year,” Forrest said. “It is predicted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that 2019 will be a severe tick season [and] our clients have reported heavy tick populations so far this year.”

It seems that every year, the community has a growing number of encounters with tick-inflicted health conditions. However, the list of diseases that can be spread by ticks is long and does not discriminate.

“Ticks are carriers of many human and dog diseases…The CDC list 16 different diseases transmitted by ticks,” Forrest explained. “The one we are all aware of is Lyme Disease, but they also transmit Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in our area… Tick-borne diseases are less common in cats, but they [too] can get Lyme Disease, tularemia, and tick paralysis.”

For those not familiar, Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial illness that causes flu-like symptoms and can ultimately cause kidney, respiratory, or heart failure in more severe cases when left untreated. Likewise, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a bacterial disease that can cause fevers, headaches, and rashes, and was dubbed by the CDC as “one of the deadliest tick-borne diseases in the Americas.”

With the preliminary numbers appearing to validate this severe season, it is critical for pet owners to take appropriate preventative measures to ensure the safety of your animals and yourself.

“Dogs and cats that go outdoors should be on some type of flea and tick prevention, both to protect the pet, but also from them carrying ticks into the house to transmit onto their human family,” Forrest said. “We carry [over-the-counter] Seresto flea and tick collars, which last for eight months, monthly generic Frontline Plus products and monthly generic Advantix II products which are applied topically between the pet’s shoulder blades.”

The CDC recommends that the best preventative measure is to regularly check yourself and pets for ticks, especially after spending time outside. Additionally, you should avoid common habitats for ticks and if you do locate a tick you should remove it immediately.

Dr. Kirk Forrest tentatively hosts a low-cost vaccine clinic at Wag N’ Wash on the second Sunday of every month from 1 to 4 p.m., with the goal of educating and providing relief to pet owners throughout this tick season.

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