Protecting Your Animals From Ticks

With autumn in full swing you may be concerned about some of the pests making their way into your homes, however have you paused to think about some of the nasty bugs that may pose

a risk to you and your pets? Chances are you know the number one disease spreading parasite, the mosquito! But the close runner up is something most pet owners have heard of... the tick! But did you know that these micro beasts can pose a huge risk to pet and owner alike.

Pause, 'I haven't heard of ticks, so how will I spot them'... well, characteristic typically, though not always, include a small, flat beetle-like creature oval in shape and around the size of a sesame seed when unfed making them increasingly hard to spot straight away. However, the nightmare continues, they grow in size when feeding to around the size of coffee bean.

They are questing parasites which by definition means they climb a long blade of grass awaiting mammalian traffic, I.e, you or our pet as well as rabbits, sheep and many other animals. As they prefer grassier surroundings they are increasingly hard to avoid whilst out walking, in your local park, common or even your garden.

Ticks in some cases can prove to be fatal, some are known to carry dangerous diseases. U.K. Ticks can carry a devastating condition called Lyme disease. In human medical practice can be identified and treated quickly, in our four legged friends it's not as easily diagnosed and can be fatal if left unidentified and untreated.

With a 75% increase in pet movement in the U.K. Compared with the past few decades, now it's even more important than ever to take precautions and steps to prevent you and your pets from them. Here are our top 5...

  • When out walking wear suitable clothing... shorts in tick habitat is an invitation to get bitten!
  • Try to carry a tick removal tool and antiseptic wipes.
  • In your garden, keep leaf litter to a minimum.
  • Use a vet recommended tick repellent product regularly.
  • Groom your pets regularly and thoroughly. Pay special attention to your pet new hair growth as well as inside their ears, close to their eyes, chin and muzzle. Don't forget to check in between their toes and around their pads.

If you do find a tick on your pet, they must be removed. Resist the urge to pull it straight off: Do not (as commonly done) cover them with Vaseline to suffocate them, burn them with naked flame or squeeze them. If agitated or distressed the tick may regurgitate their blood meal along with any disease that individual may be carrying back into your pet. You can speak to your bet about the best tick removal techniques. It's also important to make sure there is no remanence of the tick remaining in its host. If any mouth parts of the tick are left in your pet it can cause serious irritation and inflammation which may be distressing for your pet may need to be cured but a course of antibiotics.

Please not that slough this article is aimed to inform you on ticks, recognising them, their effects and their removal, it was not written by a veterinary organisation and therefore we cannot give personal or specific veterinary advice in any circumstance and would always urge you to contact your local vet practice to answer any questions you may have after reading the issues discussed in this article.

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