Did you know that worldwide, ticks rank second only to mosquitoes in infectious disease spread to both pets and people?
Nearly half of all pet owners have spotted a tick on their dog; however, many dog owners aren’t aware of the dangers coming from these pesky parasites or even how to protect against them.
Ticks - related to spiders - are found in grassy areas and require a mammal to feed from and provide a meeting place to mate; they can pick up disease from one host and pass it to another (including humans) transmitting disease.
Commonly more active in grassy (as well as woodland and urban) areas in spring and autumn, ticks can be found throughout the year.
Varying in shape, colour and size, ticks are generally oval, flat and small, the size of a sesame seed when unfed, as they look for hosts to latch on to. Once completely engorged with blood they’re the size and shape of a coffee-bean (pictured), and it’s not just on local walks that owners need to be aware.
The recently relaxed Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) means it’s no longer mandatory for pets entering the UK to be treated for ticks, which has already resulted in the exotic brown dog (or kennel) tick being found on recently travelled dogs in the UK. With a 75 per cent increase in pet movement into the UK it’s more important than ever to protect your pet.
UK ticks can carry devastating Lyme disease caused by serious bacteria affecting muscle and nerve cells. Animals may experience intermittent lameness, fever and lethargy while humans may show a rash, joint pain, fever, headaches; left untreated, it can result in debilitating and chronic illness.
While the number of human cases of Lyme disease is rising, unfortunately it’s a difficult disease to diagnose in pets.
When returning from walks especially in areas such as parks and woodlands check your pets for ticks; if found, they can be carefully removed using a special tick remover.
For more information about tick identification, control, removal, and prevention please contact Grove Lodge Vets on 01903 234866.
By Marc Abraham - visit www.GroveLodgeVets.co.uk