UP-TICK: Dog owner deals with tick infestation

Ticks are a year-round problem in the Valley, and they are especially active after the spring rain. One longtime dog owner is now recovering from a recent infestation.

It's been a rough couple months for 13-year-old Spencer.

"About a month ago, he was licking his paws, big time. Constantly scratching himself," said Joe Cascio. "I went to brush him out and I came across something plumpy and it popped and blood squirted out on his fur."

When the groomer discovered dozens of ticks on Spencer, Cascio was shocked.

"This the first time out of three Westies that I've ever had a tick," said Cascio.

Valley exterminators are seeing a steep increase in the number of calls about tick infestations, and experts said warmer winters have led to an explosion in the tick population across the country.

"A female tick can lay up to 8,000 to 18,000 ticks at one time," said an esterminator.

Ticks live in dark, humid places - like bushes, brush, and grass, and the parasites feed off the blood of their host. Cascio had an exterminator treat his entire home, inside and out, for ticks, and Spencer's vet prescribed him medication.

Now, everyday, Cascio checks Spencer's fur, and between his paws.

"He is such a sweetheart," said Cascio.