Ticks can be a significant problem in certain parts of the UK, especially more rural areas with heath, moorland or large areas of forest and permanent pasture. Ticks have a very long lifecycle which can take up to three years to complete.
Ticks are a problem because they can cause local reactions where they bite which can be quite hot and painful in some individuals. Some ticks can carry specific infections such as lymes disease or in Europe Babesiosis and Erlichia. These latter two infections can be very severe and potentially life threatening disease can occur. It is essential to protect your pet from ticks if travelling to Europe.
Ticks bury their head in your pet’s skin. If you find a tick on your pet DO NOT pull it out with tweezers or try to burn it off. Doing this may leave the head stuck inside your pet’s skin causing infection and pain. Phone us for advice on how best to remove the tick.
Ticks can occur in dogs and cats, however it is ESSENTIAL that correct tick preparations are used on cats as MANY DOG TICK DRUGS ARE TOXIC TO CATS. Unfortunately very few products are 100% effective so a tick hook can be a wise investment. This will ensure you do not leave the head of the tick in the skin when you remove it.
In dogs there are a wide range of effective tick products, in cats there are only a couple of effective active ingredients. We recommend a tablet given every 3 months for protecting your dog and a collar or spot on product for protecting your cat from ticks. If you have any questions please contact us.
Our practice is part of a national study with Bristol University into cat ticks. Last year we were part of a study into Dog Ticks. The Big Tick Project will investigate how many ticks are found on cats and what diseases they carry. Talk to us about this project and how best to protect your pets.
In the spring the first stage “Seed Tick” hatches from an egg and climbs up a blade of grass waiting for an animal (dog, cat, rabbit, sheep or deer) to walk past. The tick attaches to the animal and has one blood meal and then falls back to the environment where over winter it will moult to the larval stage.
The process then repeats the next spring with the larva emerging, attaching to an animal, having a single blood meal before falling off and moulting to an adult tick over the next winter.
The following spring the adult tick emerges, repeats the process and has a single blood meal before falling off into the environment where it can lay a large number of eggs before the life cycle is complete and it dies.