A recent publicity campaign has highlighted the dangers of tick bites in the UK, and it is something all dog owners need to be aware of.
The ‘No Bite Is Right’ campaign raised awareness among pet owners about the diseases ticks can spread. Unfortunately, tick populations in Britain are rising, so owners are being advised to consult with their vet about preventative products that can kill or repel these nasty little critters.
Ticks can bite humans too, and spread the potentially serious Lyme disease. With Lyme disease on the increase among humans in the UK, it is important that all pet owners are tick aware.
What are ticks?
Ticks are tiny insect-like creatures which have eight legs rather than six. Generally found in the countryside, the ticks in Britain wait on vegetation for passing animals that can be latched onto. A tick has a mouth that can pierce a hole through a dog’s skin and feed on its blood. Unfortunately, a range of diseases can be spread through tick bites, which is why preventative measures are so important.
How can ticks affect dogs?
A tick’s bite can lead to inflammation and irritation around the site of attachment. A range of diseases can be transmitted through tick bites, including ehrlichioisis and babesiosis. However these diseases aren’t prevalent in the UK, and usually only affect dogs that travel to different countries. In the UK, the biggest threat posed by ticks is lyme disease, which can affect both dogs and humans.
What is lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to dogs and humans via tick bites. There are several symptoms associated with this nasty disease, including headaches, fatigue, fever, skin rashes and joint pain. If treated early, the effects of lyme disease can be minimised, but there can be long-lasting effects if diagnosis and treatment are delayed.
Removing and preventing ticks
Ticks prefer rural environments, so your dog could be at a heightened risk of bites if you live in the countryside - or whenever you take your dog to the country. Check your dog for ticks after spending time in rural areas. If you spot ticks, you should remove them immediately with a tick hook. Your vet will provide you with guidance on how to use this simple yet essential item of equipment.
There are also various preventative treatments available, which your vet will be happy to discuss with you. Oral tablets, collars, sprays and some spot-on products might be recommended, depending on your dog and the scale of the problem.
Remember: Ticks that don’t bite before they die can’t spread lyme disease, so prevention with the help of your vet is always the best course of action.
How to ensure your dog gets effective and timely treatment
Managing a dog’s various injections, parasite treatments and check-ups can be a complicated task, particularly if you work or you have more than one pet. Missing just one healthcare appointment can put your dog at risk of parasitic infections, which is why the Pet Life app by Bayer was developed. You can store all of your dog’s healthcare information and vital appointments in one place, as well as details of your local veterinary practice. The Pet Life app then delivers on-screen notifications when your dog is due essential treatment.
You can find more information on the dangers of tick bites on the itsajungle.co.uk website.