BOSTON - In the first full week of spring, the weather warms up and the snow finally starts to melt.
That also means ticks are about to enter into their peak season when they're most active. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, this year is expected to be one of the worst years for ticks on record.
"It's definitely a concern," dog owner Chris Lai told Boston 25 News at Millenium Park in West Roxbury. "We've definitely found ticks on her before, but we try to make sure that we take care of it pro-actively as well as checking afterwards."
Keeping his dog, Macy, safe from ticks is important to the Lai family.
Dr. Michael Stone, an associate professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, says ticks are most active right when it gets warm.
"That's when they come out and start breeding and making new ones and so we get them all over the place," Stone said.
Adult ticks, which are the size of sesame seeds, are most active from March to mid-May and mid-August to November. Young deer ticks are active from mid-May to mid-August and are only about the size of poppy seeds. Both carry Lyme Disease and dogs are particularly susceptible.
"Ticks can be very small, even microscopic, and so to say, "I saw a tick," means you're seeing some of them, but there's probably a lot more you didn't see," Dr. Stone explained.
Cornell University researchers have identified 26 tick species along the east coast. And you don't have to go deep into the woods to find them. They can even be right in your back yard.
Dr. Stone's advice is to avoid your yard's perimeter.
"They tend to just roost on the side and they want to catch on to deer, so they're going to be on the edge of tall vegetation and flat -- so really right on the edge of the yard is a high problem area," he said.
Dog walkers who we spoke with say that's good advice, because there's plenty at stake.
"My son lost his dog to Lyme disease," Joe Campagna told Boston 25 News "He got a tick up in Walden Pond many years ago, so not fun."
Dr. Stone says all dogs who go outside should be on some sort of tick prevention, whether its medicine or a collar and he says he even does it for his cats as well.
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