Tick Problem in the Basin

By Camaron Abundes 
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- Ticks are showing up sooner and in higher numbers this year than last and local exterminators and area animal doctors alike have been dealing with more cases.

"It's probably the number one disease actually that veterinarians see in West Texas," Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Becky Battershell, said.

Battershell says the problem is so extensive every dog treated at The Angel Veterinary Clinic is treated for ticks, she adds about 80 percent have at least one tick on them at the time.

Battershell inspects one abandoned puppy, first the ears, neck, belly, toes, and then under it's tail. It is under the puppy's tail she finds a tick.
"This year it's early in the season to see as many ticks as we're seeing," Battershell said.

Brown dog ticks can cause a host of problems for dogs including "tick fever." Symptoms include; loss of appetite, depression, fever, painful joints, bloody nose, and pale gums. Battershell says the dog doesn't have to have the symptoms to have the disease.

"Some dogs are allergic to tick and flee both bites," she said, "It's very difficult to see a pet like that, we also know the impact of the disease the ticks can spread."

Not every bite results in painful symptoms, but disease can lie dormant until the dog has other problems.

Battershell recommends an over the counter spray like Adams used to kill and repel ticks, but adds two factors may be making it tougher to kill the pests. First, more EPA regulation of the chemicals used in products and secondly bugs like any other creature adapts and Battershell says they're may be some resistance developing.

"We're seeing I guess more resistance," she said adding the newest and cutting edge products appear first at a veterinary clinic before they are sold over the counter.