The Trouble with Ticks!
Hooray for the warmer weather, but with that comes ticks!
Ticks are generally found in areas of woodland, heathland and grassland like we have all around us and just wait for an animal (or human) to brush past them so that they can jump on and feed.
They attach using their mouthparts and will feed on blood from their host for several days before finally dropping off yuck!
Ticks can cause problems in two ways:
Local tissue reaction they can sometimes cause a marked tissue reaction at the attachment site.
Tick borne diseases more importantly, ticks can carry infectious diseases which may be transmitted to pets and humans. The most common one is Lyme disease caused by the tick borne pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi.
To minimise the risks of Lyme disease in your pets you should check for them daily when stroking and grooming. You should carefully remove any ticks found with a tick hook within 24 hours of attachment if possible. This approach works because a tick infected with Borrelia has to feed for several hours and often 24-48 hours before disease transmission occurs.
Use a chemical tick protection that will rapidly kill or repel ticks this is important in reducing tick feeding and therefore exposure to Lyme disease. Your vet will recommend the best tick control for you and your pet.
Tick removal do’s and don’ts: do ensure you use a specially designed v-shaped tick remover that removes ticks by rotation in one direction.
Do not burn, freeze, or squeeze the tick this will lead to regurgitation of the tick’s stomach contents resulting in increased risk of disease transmission.
Similarly, do not detach the head; leaving it in situ will also lead to an increased risk of disease transmission.
We recommend visiting your vet to make sure you are protecting your pet and yourself against this nasty parasite now… before it’s too late.
Keith Moore BVSc MRCVS is a Veterinary Surgeon at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen. For more information visit www.hillsidevets.co.uk.
Note from Dorset Dogs - tick hooking video available here