and tick borne diseases
What is a tick
and where does it live?
parasites that need to consume blood from a host animal to
survive. They split their time between grassy environments
and feeding on host animals (such as dogs, birds and
humans). The adult, nymphal and larval stages of ticks find
their hosts by detecting exhaled carbon dioxide, vibrations
and shadows. After climbing on the host the tick embeds its
sharp mouth-parts into the skin and feeds on blood for hours
to days. After feeding, the tick drops off the host and
develops through its lifecycle.
Why can ticks
cause a problem?
the tick releases saliva into the host which acts as a
method of disease and bacterial transfer. The three most
important problems caused by ticks are described below:
bacterial infections: - bacteria can enter the tick bite
wound and cause a local infection. This causes the area
where the tick has bitten to become a red and inflamed lump
which may ooze pus. If you notice this on your dog you
should seek veterinary assistance.
disease: - this is caused by the tick transmitting a
particular type of bacteria into the host. Not all ticks are
infected with lyme's disease but the disease is present in
the UK. Some, but not all dogs with lyme's disease develop a
'bulls-eye' rash at the tick bite and symptoms of the
disease are variable, but can include joint pain and
lameness and fever.
- this is caused by the tick transmitting a tiny Parasite
into the hosts blood stream that damages the red blood
cells. In dogs the symptoms include dark brown urine, fever
and lethargy and can result in anaemia. Babesiosis is
relatively uncommon in the UK but more widespread in other
parts of the world.
How can I
reduce the risk of tick-related problems?
and babesiosis are serious diseases and whilst both are
relatively uncommon they can be challenging to treat in
dogs. This is why it is important to control and prevent
ticks and there are a variety of products to help achieve
this. These pet products can work by repelling the ticks and
reducing their likelihood to bite and also to kill a tick
that tries to feed.
It is useful to
check your dogs coat for ticks after walking. If you find a
tick you can either remove it yourself using the special
tick removal tools or get a veterinary professional to
safely remove the tick.
It is important
not to pull or scratch a tick from your dog as incorrect
removal may increase the likelihood of local bacterial
infection if part of the tick is left behind.
veterinary surgeon for further information regarding ticks
and tick prevention products as it is important to control
other parasites such as worms and fleas alongside ticks.
Sobye BVSc MRCVS