ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) – Flea and tick season is upon us, and the Escanaba vet clinic shareD tips on how to protect you and your pets from getting sick. Fleas and ticks can transmit disease to your pets and yourself, so it’s important to make sure you check them regularly for ticks and safely dispose of them.

“In our area we have a prominent amount of ticks.” Saundra Robinette, Escanaba vet clinic doctor said, “from spring until fall, however, ticks are active anywhere above 30 degrees. I think Michigan State did a study and it said 28 degrees we have activity of ticks. so even in february and march we can have quite a few tick activities. We do recommend using a preventative year round. The main things that we see here are Lyme infection and Anaplasmosis infection. but there are some other diseases such as early archaea in Rocky Mountains, spotted fever in many others that ticks can transmit. Most tick infections are zoonotic, which means that they can be transmitted to humans as well, so you don’t get it directly from your dog. However, if the tick is on your dog crawls on you and bites you, you’re going to be at risk of those infections as well. We do recommend using tick preventative year round here, and there’s many different kinds. There’s collars that you can use. The only color that I really feel works is a Seresto collar. There are good and bad ones. There’s oral medications that you can give now that are really good and have a fast kill of that tick and pretty safe. We don’t see a lot of side effects from them.Then we have our topical medications and those are good as well, but they don’t have as quick of a kill of the tick. The tick would have to crawl on your pet, bite your pet for about 24 hours before they kill.”

Although fleas are not a year-round concern in the Upper Peninsula, your pets can still get them. It is important to be aware of what can cause your pet to get fleas, how to properly care for them if they do, and what you can do to prevent your pets from getting them altogether.

Robinette said, “You know, in the U.P. We don’t see a lot of flea infestation, comparatively speaking, in Florida or the very southern states. However, I will say we do see a fair amount of fleas. Pets get tapeworms from fleas and then they get really bad dermatitis or itchiness from them as well. Fleas carry diseases for us as well. So our pets having fleas can cause problems for us. We have our flea season, usually during fair week. We start to see fleas in the area and then unfortunately we’ll see them get really bad in November, December and January. That late into the year people stop using tick preventatives and so we’ll get a ton of pets that are covered in fleas. So again, that’s why it is important to use that all 12 months out of the year.If your pet does have ticks that we see on them, there is a test that is a blood test that can be run. Usually we recommend running that test about 30 to 90 days after that tick was found and then we can test them for common diseases in our area. If that test does come back positive or your dog is clinical for those diseases, there are treatments for it. If you can save that tick and get it identified, that’s helpful because certain ticks carry certain diseases.”

Recently the Escanaba Vet Clinic has come across more cases of pets having heartworm than previous years. While in past years they would only see a small handful of heartworm cases, as of today, they currently have nine cases. Heartworm can be a life threatening disease, so it’s important to know how to identify, prevent, and treat it.

“So, you know, heart worm disease is found throughout the United States. So it’s a disease that we see everywhere,” Robinette said. “It’s a disease that’s transmitted from mosquitoes to dogs. So mosquitoes carry that disease, and female mosquitoes are the ones that feed on blood. So the female mosquito will bite a positive dog, pick up what’s called Microflora, and carry it around and then bite another dog and give that disease to that dog. It’s transmitted from dog to dog via mosquito. Another problem with heart worm disease as well is that people take their pets everywhere now. So snowbirds don’t realize they’re always lived in Upper Michigan. Now all of a sudden they’re going to Florida for the winter, Arizona for the winter, Louisiana for the winter, and all of a sudden Fluffy is going with them. So those cases are coming back to the U.P. positive because they weren’t prevented while they were there. Year round prevention allows people to be protected even when they’re not thinking about it, and that’s another reason to do it all the time. It’s a disease that you can prevent for ten years for the same cost that you could treat at one time.”

If you would like to learn more about heart worm and your pets, visit If you are ever concerned about the health of your pet, don’t be afraid to reach out to your local vet and ask questions to make sure your pets stay happy and healthy for years to come.