By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Public health officials and veterinarians are warning about an abundance of deer ticks this summer in Minnesota — not only do they represent a threat to humans but to our animals as well.

The latest warning about ticks is being sounded by the Winona Veterinary Hospital. The hospital posted on its Facebook page that an alert dog owner brought in their pet, because the animal had red bumps embedded in her belly.

The bumps, it turned out, were tick larvae, about 100 of them. The hospital pointed out that had the dog had long fur, the larvae would have been impossible to detect.

The hospital warns that it usually sees tick larvae ready to hatch in August, so this is a month early.

Veterinarian Dr. Justine Lee, who was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning, says dogs and cats are at risk of Lyme disease from tick bites. In pets, it can cause arthritis and even kidney failure.

“It’s really preventable,” she said. “You can talk to your veterinarian about getting a Lyme vaccine or a fast-acting tick and flea oral medication that kills them right away.”

The Winona Veterinary Hospital reports that the dog it saw was treated with Nexgaard and is expected to be OK.

Doctors report that many humans end up being bitten by ticks that wander from pets to owners.

Esme Murphy