With the outdoor season in full swing, tick awareness has become a necessity for outdoor enthusiasts.
Residents of Pennsylvania have a free service available to them that can provide you with information, if you find yourself or your dog to be the unlucky host of an engorged tick.
After an ATV ride last summer with my pup Cali, I removed three ticks from him and found none on me.
The next day I found a little bugger strapped to my thigh.
This is where the free service to state residents comes in.
The Pennsylvania Tick Lab located at the University of East Stroudsburg operates the www.tickcheck.com website and offers free lab analysis of the tick, letting you know before symptoms develop, the presence of nine agents different pathogens that the tick contains.
Visit the site, fill out the form, which asks for information such as name, address, phone, email, where you may have picked up the tick, and if it was attached to a human or a dog.
An order number is then assigned to you. Print the form, place the tick in a plastic bag and put it in an envelope and mail it.
I sent it in on a Monday and on a Friday I received an email with the lab results which showed it was an adult female deer tick, not engorged with blood based on its size and who has not been tied up for more than seven hours.
My tick tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease and Anaplasma phagocytophilum or anaplasmosis, another fairly debilitating pathogen.
A call to my PCP at UPMC put me on the necessary medications as a precaution against infection.