Ticks a growing concern at Wichita Falls animal shelter

Ticks a growing concern at Wichita Falls animal shelter

<P>Wichita Falls animal services sees a growing number of animals coming in with ticks and fleas</P>

Texoma has seen a spike in ticks and fleas this summer and the impact can be seen at the city of wichita falls animal services.

Katrena Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the shelter, says Texoma's mild winter, wet and early spring and dry, hot summer are responsible for the increase in the insects.

Mitchell says most of the dogs, cats and other animals the shelter has received over the last few weeks have had ticks and fleas.

"Ticks will fall off the animal and they'll crawl over to the next kennel," Mitchell says.

Even though all animals picked up by animal control are inspected before being put into cages, the spread of the tiny insects can be tough to control.

"We may have a dog who has been well taken care of... If they come in and the dog next to them is covered in ticks, there is a possibility of them getting ticks and fleas as well," Mitchell says.

Veterinarian Don Morris says the spread of disease can be taken care of with proper medication but spotting the ticks may not always be easy.

Dr. Morris says, "The big ones are, they're ones you'll notice but the little ones are the ones you need to watch out for. They are the ones that do the damage."

Damage Dr. Morris says that can be controlled by just paying extra attention to your pets.

"You really need to be watching them close enough so you don't get to the point where you notice something wrong with the animal because these dogs they'll get kind of anemic and you may not notice any problems until it is kind of late," Dr. Morris says.

A problem Mitchell says can hurt the chances of an animal finding a new family.

Mitchell says, "When somebody is looking to hopefully adopt one of our animals through the humane society, if you see an animal that has its ears covered with ticks or anything like that, it's not aesthetically pleasing to someone to look at an animal like that."

The ears, around the eyes, paws and where there are folds in the skin are the most common hiding spots for these ticks in animals.

Also, since long-haired animals are most at risk, shaving or trimming their fur during the summer can be beneficial.

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