CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. -- With the beautiful weather Western New York summers can offer, many pet owners take their pets outside for long walks.
But there is something nasty that may hitch a ride on your best friend while you are out.
Dr. Susan Wylegala at the Cheektowaga Veterinary Hospital says they are seeing what she calls a tremendous increase in ticks on dogs, with clients calling daily after spotting the ticks or asking for help removing them.
The mild weather and lots of host animals like deer and mice increase the amount of ticks.
And dogs in the woods or even in a backyard lawn can be potentially exposed to tiny bloodsuckers that can cause infections.
"We're testing routinely for Lyme Disease," Wylegala says. "And we've had a number of pets that have at some point been exposed. And when we call the owner, the owner has never seen a tick. So I think there are many cases that ticks are there, they attach, they feed, they fall off and the owner isn't even aware... whether it's because they have long fur... that there was even a tick there. So it can be very difficult to find."
Wylegala says you should really check around the head and ears of your pet as well as their bellies, legs and paws.
And to check the fur -- brush back against the roots to see if it's on their skin.
Some people told us that stores selling pet supplies seem to be out of tick protection medicine, but veterinarians say you can still find it or just call their offices.
Cornell Veterinary School says there are 16 different species of ticks here in New York state, so unfortunately lots of them out there.
By the way, dogs are more susceptible to Lyme Disease than cats -- feline systems seem to resist it.