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Ticks are commonly encountered by dogs in our area. They are bloodsucking insects which bite and stay attached for several days whilst they feed. Common locations where dogs pick them up are long grass by riverbanks and woodland, but they can occur almost anywhere. As well as being unpleasant to look at, they carry several diseases, the most significant of which is Lyme disease (also called Borreliosis). The best way to remove a tick is with an O’Tom tick remover (£4.06), this is a little plastic fork which grasps the tick at the base and allows it to be twisted off cleanly.
To avoid Lyme disease and other nasty diseases, dogs that are being bitten should be protected. There are 3 main strategies –
Spot-On Treatments – These are applied once a month (£4.89-5.70 per month)
Tablets – A single tablet every three months provides good protection (£15.89 – 23.90 every 3 months)
Collar – A thin grey collar, which is worn in addition to the normal collar providing protection for 7-8 months (£23.22 – 27.08 every 7-8 months).
These products will all protect against fleas as well, but a lot of normal flea products are not effective against ticks. We will be happy to discuss these options and advise which treatment is most suitable for your dog.
There is a vaccine now available for Lyme disease which is useful for high risk dogs. The primary course is 2 injections and then it’s an annual booster. (£62.88 for primary course and £43.28 for booster).
NEVER USE A DOG TICK PRODUCT ON A CAT AS MOST OF THEM ARE VERY TOXIC FOR CATS
For cats the standard Fipronil containing flea products are the best spot-on to control ticks and are applied monthly (£3.43 per month). An alternative is a flea and tick collar which lasts 7-8 months (£24.95)
Please call the practice to discuss any aspect of tick control or to get more information about any of the products mentioned.
For more information about ticks a good website is www.bada-uk.org
Further information on Lyme Disease from an article in the Veterinary Times 15.6.15.
Incidence in people is gradually increasing from 0.5 cases per 100,000 people in England and Wales per year in 2001 , to 1.73 cases per 100,000 people in 2011. This is still very rare but in the Highlands of Scotland the incidence is a more worrying 56 cases per 100,000 people, so this emphasises the need for tick protection when travelling to the west and north of Scotland.
The tick needs to attach and feed for over 24 hours for transmission to occur. This means prompt removal of any ticks will reduce the risk of disease.
Lyme disease will not transmit directly from a dog to a person. Ticks usually bite once, attach and feed for several days, then drop off and go through another life cycle stage. It is the initial tick bite which causes the disease in both people and dogs.
It can be up to 6 months from the tick bite before clinical signs develop. They usually consist of a very high temperature, malaise, and multiple swollen, painful joints. Other cases can be a more generalised, vague illness that can be difficult to diagnose.