Western New York's mild winter might be bringing an early Spring but it is also accelerating animal problems with rabies and ticks.
"I think we should all be on a heightened alert," said Paul Dicky from the Niagara County Department of Health in regards to rabies.
Last week, a raccoon tested positive for rabies after it fought a family dog off Lockport Street in Youngstown. It is the second animal found with rabies this year in Niagara County.
Pet owners are now being advised to make sure their animal's vaccinations are current.
Niagara County, in conjunction with the Niagara County Veterinary Society, will be offering five free rabies immunization clinics with the first one on April 9th at the Town of Porter Highway Garage.
While rabies is always a concern, local veterinarians say they are also hearing increased customer complaints about ticks.
"We are seeing ticks on a weekly, if not, daily basis especially with the warm weather," said Dr. Mary Brummer from the Orchard Park Veterinary Hospital.
Ticks can transmit diseases to humans and animals. Lyme Disease can be especially dangerous for dogs.
"Some dogs are badly affected by problems that affect their kidneys, and when Lyme Disease affects their kidneys, the outcome is never good.
Dog owners are advised to begin checking for ticks especially if pets have been outside in wooded areas.
Veterinarians also recommend having canines vaccinated for Lyme Disease.