West Michigan ticks already a problem, report says

- It may be still be freezing and blowing snow around Michigan, but veterinarians in west Michigan are already saying they're seeing a huge tick problem.

Spring is still a few weeks away but WWMT in Kalamazoo says a large number of dogs are already dealing with ticks.

According to the station, multiple vets said they've been removing ticks from dogs since mid-February and are still seeing more, despite there being snow on the ground and temperatures staying below freezing.

Hibernation for ticks ends when temperatures hit 40 degrees. After a warm stretch of weather in mid to late February, ticks came out of hibernation early. But since then, the weather has dropped back to the more seasonal 30s and below but the ticks are finding places where it's not freezing, like garages.

Dr. Gary Ryder, a veterinarian for VCA Southwest Michigan Animal Emergency and Referral Center, told WWMT that you shouldn't panic if you find a tick on your dog as it takes time before they start to transmit diseases. 

"You have a few hours," Dr. Ryder said. "So if you're keeping an eye on your dog after they go outside and you find a tick on them, you can wet it with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and then just grab them with tweezers and pull them off."

He recommended you check your pet after each outside trip. If you find a tick, the proper way to remove a tick is with tweezers, don't try to burn them off. 

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