Agriculturists say you could see an uptick in ticks across Georgia this summer

Christa Morgan Everhart says the stray dog she recently picked up in her neck of the woods of Gwinnett County had some hitchhikers.

“It was in between his toes and under his paws. It was all over his head, neck, and body. They haven’t seen a case like that before,” Everhart said.

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The Black Lab was covered with ticks. A groomer pulled off more than 200 before they lost count.

Agriculture agents at UGA say the chance that your dog, your kids or yourself end up with a tick or two this summer are better than usual.

“Environmental conditions sometimes are conducive and I think we’re looking at a pretty big tick year,” UGA’s James Murphy said. 

Murphy says mild winters plus a spike in small mammals the bugs latch onto equals more ticks.

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Fortunately, the dog Everhart took to the veterinarian will be fine.

“If it hadn’t been for a Good Samaritan that brought the dog in and got the parasite problem cleaned up, he probably wouldn’t be with us right now,” Dr. Nicholas Klosterman said.

But Everhart will never forget what the groomer found on him.

“The girl was shivering.  She was like, ‘Oh my God.’  There were so many ticks.  It shocked them to see that.  They felt so bad for the dog that he had that many on him,” Everhart said.

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UGA says tick bites can cause pain, swelling, and itching, but it’s usually not serious. However, deer ticks can transmit Lyme Disease, even though it’s rare in Georgia. Another type of tick can trigger a serious allergy to red meat.