Monday, May 5, 2008
Medical Reports: Ticking time bomb
Pet owners beware. More and more homes across South Florida are seeing tick infestations. So what's causing this tick explosion? Seven's Richard Lemus shows us if this Ticking Time Bomb can be stopped.
WSVN -- Country crooner Brad Paisley jokes about them in his hit song "Ticks," but these little bloodsuckers have become a real pest for pet owners across South Florida.
Jerome Cohen: "He was covered with them."
Jerome Cohen's nightmare started when he was petting his dog Duncan and felt bumps all over his skin.
Jerome Cohen: "I squeezed it and blood came out."
Not only was Duncan covered in ticks, but an exterminator confirmed a major infestation in Jerome's apartment. The critters were climbing up his walls.
Jerome Cohen: "So he saw the little holes there, and I thought they were just holes, and he picked one up, and sure enough, it was a tick."
Jerome Cohen: "That's where we normally find them is right in between the toes."
Veterinarian Mieke Baks says her clinic has been very busy this year.
Jerome Cohen: "We find more and more ticks in South Florida, and it seems to be getting worse."
The brown dog tick most commonly seen throughout Florida and inside homes, carries a disease dangerous to dogs called Ehrlichia.
Dr. Mieke Baks: "Dogs can die from Ehrlichia. They can bleed to death."
Dr. Phillip Kaufman is the top bug expert at the University of Florida. He says all it takes is one tick on your dog to cause an infestation inside your home.
Dr. Mieke Baks: "Once the tick's in the home, one female tick can lay 4 to 5,000 eggs."
And he says treating them is getting tougher.
Dr. Phillip Kaufman: "There have been reports of this tick developing resistance in other parts of the world."
Richard Lemus: "If you notice your dog has ticks, there are some things you can do. First, treat the dog. Then trim back all your hedges and bushes where ticks like to hang out. Next, have your yard sprayed for ticks, and, once your yard is treated, don't walk your dog around the block."
Dr. Phillip Kaufman: "It takes not only the pest control operator, but the person has to do their part also by keeping the dog in the treated area."
Dr. Baks says it's also important to check your pet everyday for ticks. If you do find one, remove it properly.
Rubbing alcohol dabbed on the tick will loosen its jaws. Then remove it with tweezers, but be careful not to yank the tick out because if you leave the head inside your dog, it can transmit diseases.
Robert Benham: "As far as I can tell, he's clean today."
It took six weeks, but Duncan is finally tick-free! Now, Jermone sprays his dog once a month and is careful not to walk Duncan near any bushes.
Robert Benham: "That will hopefully keep them tick free."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Mieke Baks
Siegel TLC Animal Clinic
12870 Biscayne Blvd.
North Miami, FL 33181
Tel: (305) 891-5116
Guarantee Floridian Pest Control
Dade: (305) 758-1811
Broward: (954) 922-6803
Information on Ticks: