Stop your pet getting diseases from ticks
We’ve seen a rise in pets getting ticks and tick-borne diseases in the UK, partly due to milder winters and an increase in building on rural land. Though it’s great to take your dog for a walk in the long grass they are at risk of picking up ticks. So, it’s more important than ever for responsible pet owners to prevent their animals getting any unwanted hitchhikers.
What is a tick and where do pets pick them up?
There are lots of species of ticks and they’re divided into soft and hard categories. Most cats and dogs get bitten by hard ticks. Ticks can transmit many different bacteria, viruses, Protozoa and similar organisms called rickettsiae which get passed on from the tick bite.
Ticks can live anywhere that livestock graze or wildlife inhabit. Wherever you see cattle and sheep, hedgehogs, birds, squirrels, foxes and deer there may be ticks. Increasingly, we’re seeing ticks in parks and gardens in towns and cities too.
What may happen if your pet gets ticks
Tick bites are painful and cause rashes and abscesses even if they don't transmit disease. Some of the most common of the many diseases from tick bites are Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Bartonellosis and Borreliosis (Lyme's Disease). Most people have heard of Lyme's as people get it too. One of the difficulties in diagnosing all these diseases is that often the initial tick bite has long gone by the time the pet gets taken to the vet. Symptoms are usually lethargy and sometimes lameness. Diagnosis is made with blood tests and treatment with antibiotics is most effective if started early.
How to remove a tick
If your pet gets a tick remove it with tweezers or a tick remover. Don’t squeeze the tick's body as this may introduce disease into your pet. If you’re not sure what to do please call your vet.
Preventing your pet getting ticks
It’s much better to prevent a tick bite than to cure one. Using tick control as part of your parasite control is important to consider for cats and dogs. Tick prevention should only be given to healthy animals so please make sure you always discuss with your veterinary surgery which is the best product for your pet.
At our surgery in Notting Hill and Barons Court, we have a Lyme's Disease vaccine for dogs which we use in conjunction with prevention. (Please note some dog tick treatments are fatal to cats!)
Are you traveling abroad this summer?
If you’re taking your pets on holiday please use tick prevention. It is no longer a requirement for re-entry to the UK that pets are treated for ticks but it is a very good idea to protect them.
Enjoy your summer with your pets.