AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Lots of rain paired with a mild winter are causing a bad tick season this summer in the Panhandle.
"We absolutely have seen an uptick in the amount of ticks that are coming in on animals," said Richard Havens, Director of Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare. "So any time that we see that, we are always treating externally for fleas and ticks, especially through the spring and summer and even into the fall."
However, vets said external treatments like creams or gels are not always enough to stop these bugs from spreading disease.
"About 5% of the fleas in the world are on an animal," said local veterinarian Dr. Merten Pearson. "95% percent of the fleas in the world are in your house, in your carpet, in your yard, in the environment."
The first step is medicating your dogs and cats.
Pearson said there are lots of good over the counter tick and flea treatments and medicines, but stronger medicines can only be obtained through your vet.
These pests are all over the Panhandle, including your own backyard.
"If you see birds or squirrels or cats that are jumping into your backyard, you're liable to get ticks because they carry them," said Pearson. "If you've got deer in the neighborhood, they've got ticks that will jump off and migrate."
Pearson and Havens said to keep your grass cut short, and eliminate any piles of brush where these pests tend to gather.
You can also buy spray to use in your house to keep ticks from jumping from your animals into your carpet.
If you see a tick on your animal, pull it off slowly, making sure to remove the entire bug.
Pearson said not to squish the tick, which could spread disease.
Drop it into a glass with alcohol to kill it, and don't return it to the backyard.
Also, keep an eye out for mosquitoes that will gravitate toward standing water from recent rain, and can infect your pets with heartworm.
That is an extensive and expensive condition to treat.
"If people are proactive in the front end, then the back end's a heck of a lot easier for everyone and safer and more humane for the animal," said Havens.