- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) - An Easter stroll on Bateman Island turned into an all-night battle for Arnold Porter of Kennewick and his miniature schnauzer, Roxy.

Walking the trails on the Richland island, Porter didn’t realize the underbrush was infested with ticks - not until he discovered one crawling up his arm hours later.

“I’ve found one once in a while after I’d been out hiking so I didn’t think much about it,” he said.

Roxy, 11/2, gets regular doses of a common tick and flea repellent, so Porter wasn’t too worried about her.

But after he got home and found several more creepy crawlies on himself, he checked Roxy.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. I found 10 or 12 just on one paw,” he said.

The Mid-Columbia’s spring and the early summer months are a bad time of year for ticks, said Registered Nurse Heather Hill, the Communicable Disease Programs supervisor for the Benton Franklin Health District.

“We get a lot of calls this time of year. A lot of it is people starting to get back out into the environment where ticks live, like Bateman Island and the grassy areas along the rivers,” she said.

While it’s disconcerting to find ticks on your body, she said, they will wander around for hours and hours before latching onto you.

So if you check yourself and your dogs after being out where ticks live, you do have time to remove them before they bite.

Hill recommends using a fine-tooth comb to run through your hair and your dog’s hair too.

After spotting the ticks on Roxy, Porter made a hasty, late-night trip to the store for a bottle of flea and tick shampoo.

“I gave her a bath at midnight and when I rinsed her off, it was awful. There were easily 100 or more dead ticks on the shower floor, both full grown and little ones,” he said.

As Porter dried Roxy off he discovered three more ticks hidden in the fur around her eyes.

The ticks were the common brown variety and one was orange with black markings, he said.

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