Watch CBS News

Warm Winter Could Cause Critter Problems

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The recent weather has been so warm that groundhogs like Phil may wake up earlier this winter. The same goes for deer, skunks and raccoons.

Those are some of the findings from a study at Cornell University.

Everyone, even our pets, wants to know what happened to winter?

"We have lived in multiple states; so, each state has some different factors to consider, especially the time of the year you can get ticks," said Jaclyn Macedonia, of the North Hills. "Fleas, especially with a new puppy; we haven't had a new puppy for seven years, so we are learning things all over again."

A study by Cornell University says this winter that wasn't has led to an explosion in mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. It also means deer haven't had a hard time finding things to eat.

You have to look far and wide this winter to find ground covered by snow. That means there is a lot more for the deer to eat and that they are moving around more.

But according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and insurance adjusters, they frankly are not seeing more cars hit deer this time of year. What the vets are seeing though are a whole lot more deer ticks.

"The Center for Disease Control has been predicting this increase in the tick-borne diseases and ticks for quite a few years. I think finally we have seen it," said Dr. Teresa Meyer, of Animal General Hospital. "In the last 12 months, I have seen more ticks than I have in the past 25 years of veterinarian practice in Western Pennsylvania. It is huge."

Searching a pet for ticks is part of every animal exam at Animal General in Cranberry Township. With a record number of cases of human and animal Lyme disease, vets urge patients to take precautions.

"Their kids have gotten tick bites, their pets are getting ticks. They don't even know what a tick looks like," said Dr. Meyer. "So, I think our area is just beginning to learn about this and unfortunately, the ticks will teach them."

Animal General in Cranberry Township
More Featured Stories

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.