Ticks are external parasites that can attach themselves to your pet and gorge on their blood. They are mostly found in woodlands and long grassy areas but they can also be found in gardens and parks. An empty tick is often the size of a sesame seed but they become more obvious to owners as they swell up with blood over several days. Wildlife also contributes to the spread of ticks.
Ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease caused by bacteria transmitted by the tick. Lyme disease can also affect people. Lyme disease is one of the most common tick borne diseases. It is caused by some bacteria and Luckily, only causes symptoms in a small percentage of animals. These symptoms can include recurrent lameness, lack of appetite and dullness. In more serious cases it may cause kidney or heart and nervous system damage.
Babesiosis is a disease caused by protozoa, most commonly spread by ticks. The incubation period is commonly two weeks. Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in wooded areas, are at an increased risk for tick bites and, therefore, for contracting this disease. This is especially true during the summer months when the tick population is at its highest.
Symptoms of Babesiosis can include lack of energy, poor appetite, pale gums, fever, enlarged abdomen, coloured urine or discoloured stool and weight loss. Several dogs became ill with Babesiosis in the U.K. earlier this year with at least one passing away.
Care is needed when removing ticks. If the head is left attached, it can cause localised infections. Spot on & oral treatments can be applied and some will kill ticks within 48 hours. The tick will usually fall or they can be removed with a gentle pull.
Applying a monthly spot on treatment to your pet can help to control ticks. Some products allow the tick to attach but they will be killed and will drop off like: Advantix for dogs and Broadline for cats spot-on. There is also a flavoured tablet form of a prevention treatment available which is active for 12 weeks. This is called Bravecto (for dogs and cats).
Whitehouse Vets offer complementary tick removal to all our clients. Contact us if you are concerned that your pet may have ticks.