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State Department of Health wants your ticks

Different types of ticks carry different diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. (Image courtesy the Washington State Department of Health's Facebook page)

It's gross, but it's important. The Washington State Health Department wants your ticks.

It's the third year of tick surveillance and this year the project has even more funding from Centers for Disease Control to do more.

Since springtime is blossoming, it also means the bloodsuckers will be out in force soon. So the DOH is going to do a systematic surveillance of ticks in Washington, and they want you to send in samples if a tick climbs aboard you or your pet.

Different types of ticks carry different diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The sampling will help the Health Department define the disease risk in different parts of the state.

Dogs are sentinels for ticks and Dr. Liz Dykstra says you should check them over.

"When you're done with your walk, just run your fingers through their fur," says Dykstra. "They'll think they're getting a massage, it's good therapy for you - it's a win-win situation. And you'll find a tick earlier rather than later."

If you find one on you or your dog, Dykstra says to carefully remove it and put it into a plastic pill bottle. Then, add a few blades of grass to keep it alive and give it some humidity so it won't dry out. Then put it into a zip-lock bag.

Put the tick in a padded envelope. Complete this online form to fill out information about where and when the tick was recovered and mail it to the state Health Department.

KIRO Radio's Tim Haeck and MyNorthwest.com's Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.

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