Pet Health Marking A Tick Box

Published on July 16th, 2012 | by Debbie Martin


Practical Advice About the Dangers of Ticks

With another wet and warm month predicted, read this practical advice from our vet about how to protect you and your pet from the dangers of Ticks.

What is a Tick?

Ticks are small, blood-sucking arthropods related to spiders, mites and scorpions. Ticks feed on the blood of mammals including dogs, cats and even humans. Ticks are more commonly found in areas with long grass; however they can also be lurking in urban and country gardens. Once a tick has transferred itself from the environment (long grass/garden) to the host (dog/cat) they attach themselves firmly onto the skin and can remain in place for days feeding, causing pain and irritation.

Ticks commonly attach themselves to your pets head and legs but they can be found anywhere on the body. When they first attach they can be only a few millimetres in size, but as they fill with blood they can reach up to a centimetre in size. Ticks can sometimes be mistaken for small growths or warts, but if you look closely, you can see their legs.

Can Ticks bite me?

Ticks can bite and attach themselves to humans too, where they can cause severe reactions and can spread tick-borne disease. However unlike fleas, a tick can’t physically jump from your pet to you. Most commonly people pick them up walking bare-legged through areas of long grass.

What dangers to Ticks pose?

A bite from a Tick is relatively painless, and is likely to cause some irritation, however the real danger comes from the potential diseases that ticks carry. One of the most common tick-borne diseases is Lyme Disease, which in pets can cause symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, and lameness.

Unfortunately Lyme Disease can also be transmitted to humans from a tick bite and can be potentially fatal. Common signs of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms, rashes, headaches, chronic arthritis and neurological symptoms.

In 2011 there was more than 1,100 human cases reported in the UK, this was a rise of almost 25% and was mainly contributed to climate changes resulting in a greater tick population. Ticks prefer wet and humid conditions, therefore with another year of record summer rainfall levels, tick numbers are set to increase further!

If you are worried that you have been bitten by a tick or have found a tick attached to your skin, seek medical advice.

How do I stop my pet from getting Ticks?

The very best tactic to stop your pet from getting ticks is prevention! Spot-on treatments containing the active ingredient Fipronil, ensure that any ticks that attach to your pets skin will die and drop off within 48 hours. A single treatment if used correctly, will protect your pet for up to 4 weeks against these nasty blood-sucking parasites.

If you do find a tick on your animal, don’t try to pull them off! The mouth of the tick is embedded firmly in the skin, and pulling often detaches the body and leaves the mouth parts under the skin, which can become infected. Treating with a Fipronil based spot-on such as Eliminall Flea Treatment should kill the tick within 48 hours, however if you are absolutely desperate to remove the tick, a handy removal device can be bought. A tick remover device is designed to remove a tick easily and safely without detaching the head from the body.

We do not advise you substitute this method for a spot-on treatment, which also treats other blood-sucking parasites such as fleas.

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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