Tick Awareness Campaign
It May Only Be a Matter of Time Before Your Dog is Exposed to the DANGERS of Tick-Borne Diseases!
The staff at St Clair are promoting a Tick Awareness Campaign to educate clients on the potential dangers of ticks, how to correctly remove ticks from your pet and which products are best for the treatment and prevention of ticks.
Wherever you live in the UK, there is a risk that your dog could pick up ticks. Ticks are small external parasites which can be found in long grass, parks, meadows, woodlands and kennels. Often they will attach to your dog’s skin where the coat is thin, such as around the ears or close to the ground such as on the paws. when they have attached, they will engorge themselves on your dog’s blood causing their body to swell. During feeding, ticks can transmit diseases which can cause a serious risk to your dogs health.
The Diseases Spread by Ticks..
Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the UK. Occasionally you may notice a localised infection soon after the tick bites, characterised by a distinctive ‘bull’s eye’ lesion or rash around the site of the bite. As the condition develops the Borrelia bacteria spread through the bloodstream. Days, weeks or even months later some of the symptoms seen then include a high fever and inflamed lymph nodes, and limping which may shift from one leg to another with swollen, hot or painful joints. Dogs may also have a lack of appetite and appear lethargic and depressed. Some dogs can be affected for over a year before they show symptoms!
The Babesia parasite invades red blood cells destroying them, leading to anaemia. This destruction of red blood cells causes the release of haemoglobin into the body which can lead to jaundice (yellow tinged skin). Additional symptoms include lethargy, anorexia, pale gums, fever and weight loss. You may observe dark discolouration of your dog’s urine and they may have a rapid heart rate and fast breathing. Blood clotting can also be impaired and multi-organ failure can occur. In severe cases it can be fatal!
Ehrlichiosis can have three stages, each varying in severity. The acute stage usually develops 1-3 weeks after the infected bite and can last up to a month. It can lead to fever and anaemia. The next stage, often called the subclinical phase can last for months or years, dogs can appear normal or show signs of mild anaemia. The dog remains infected with the organism during this time. Some dogs then go on to develop the third and most serious stage of the infection, the chronic phase. This can result in bleeding, bacterial infection, lameness, neurological and eye disorders and kidney disease. The chronic stage can be fatal!
Anaplasmosis is caused by a bacteria that infects and kills white blood cells. Symptoms can include lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. Additional more specific signs during the early stages of the disease can include bruising on the gums and belly and spontaneous nosebleeds. Symptoms typically last 1-7 days. Less common clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing and laboured breathing. Rarely, neurological signs such as seizures can be seen.
Common Ticks in the UK…
SHEEP TICK (Ixodes Ricinus) – 71% of ticks effecting dogs in the UK
Habitat: Grassland, Moorland, Heath & Woodland. Found in Suburban & Urban Areas.
Disease Transmission: Lyme Disease & Anaplasmosis
HEDGEHOG TICK (Ixodes Hexagonus) – 27% of ticks effecting dogs in the UK
Habitat: Parks & Gardens, even urban areas.
Disease Transmission: Lyme Disease & Anaplasmosis
MARSH TICK (Dermacentor Reticulatus) – 1% of ticks effecting dogs in the UK
Habitat: Grasslands, Pastures & Woodlands.
Disease Transmission: Babesiosis.
BROWN DOG TICK (Rhipicephalus Sanguineus) – <1% of ticks effecting dogs in the UK
Habitat: Kennels & Other Sheltered Places.
Disease Transmission: Ehrlichiosis & Babesiosis.
If you find a tick of your pet, we advise prompt removal. It is VERY important to use the correct technique to remove ticks. If you leave the tick head in, this can cause further infection. The ‘Tick hook’ is the easiest & safest way to remove a tick from your pet! These can be purchased at our Reception desk!
How NOT To Remove a Tick..
Do not pull a tick – This can leave the head buried in the skin, leading to abscesses & infection.
Do not burn a tick – This can cause pain & trauma to the skin, often requiring veterinary attention.
Do not apply Vaseline to remove a tick –This can cause the tick to regurgitate back Into the dog leading to infection.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel confidant removing ticks yourself! if you book an appointment with one of our nurses, they will explain the process and remove the tick for you!
Please ensure to give your dog a thorough check over after each walk to check for an ticks.
Please call us on 01670 457271 where we will book you a FREE appointment with one of our Qualified Veterinary Nurses to discuss the best treatment options for you and your dog.
Pet Insurance – Why should I insure my pet?
Did you know that it has been proven that persons claim more on pet insurance each day than car or home insurances? And that good quality pet insurance can provide life-long funds to ensure your pet is given the best care possible in any circumstance? The team at St Clair Vets are trained insurance advisers who can advise you on any pet insurance inquiries and recommend the best insurance policies.
By owning an animal, you have a legal obligation to provide a reasonable standard of care. This includes veterinary treatment when your pet is unwell or injured.
By neglecting your animal and not seeking veterinary attention when required, you could be breaking the animal welfare act and could be prosecuted for neglect of the animal. Some animals may become injured or ill and require immediate surgery or medical attention; other animals may become ill with long term, sometimes life-long illnesses where you are required to pay for veterinary treatment for the pet’s life. Pet insurance covers your pet for illness and injury, where depending on the individual case, you can claim back your money or submit a direct claim for your insurance company to pay the veterinary surgery directly, claim protocols depend on the veterinary surgery in use, direct claims at St Clair will only be considered for any claim greater than £500 and will be subject to pre-authorisation by the insurance company. This provides a peace of mind that you can provide the best standard of care for your animal, which in turn prevents stress, and prolongs the life of your pet. Unfortunately there is no NHS type of industry for animal care; therefore it is an owner’s responsibility to pay for animal medical care when necessary.
Many pet owners leave medical conditions until they worsen in the hope that they will improve and not require treatment due to funds; however this is known to cost more in the long run as each condition worsens and may cause further damage and distress for the animal, this situation can be prevented when an animal is covered under their pet insurance policy.
Which type of policy should I choose?
Lifetime policies provide a pot of money for Veterinary Fees each year. Every time you renew your pet’s policy (without a break in cover) the pot of money is refreshed back to the original Veterinary Fees amount. This allows you to claim for ongoing conditions for the life of your pet as there is no time limit on how long each illness or injury can be claimed for. Please note that some insurance companies provide ‘lifetime cover’ but do not refresh this pot of money yearly, so although there may not be a 12 month limit for the condition, once you use up your pot of money you will no longer be able to claim for that condition.
12 Month Cover
Time limited policies provide a pot of money for each illness or injury for a 12 month period. At the end of the 12 month period the pot of money is taken away and the existing illness or injury will no longer be covered by the policy. This means that you will not be able to claim for ongoing conditions for any longer than 12 months but will continue to receive a new pot of money for 12 months for any new conditions that occur.
Maximum Benefit Policies
Maximum benefit policies provide a pot of money per condition. Once you have used up all of the money in the pot the existing illness or injury will no longer be covered by the policy. It could take you several months or several years to use up the pot of money depending on the condition. You will receive new pots of money for any new conditions that occur but again you will only be able to claim for each condition until the pot of money runs out.
A pre existing condition is a condition that has already occurred, i.e. an ear infection 1 year ago or a sore paw last month. Insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions that have occurred prior to insurance cover being taken, this means if your pet has become ill, you cannot then take out insurance in the future for that condition. This is why we strongly recommend good quality life cover from a young age. This is also the case if there is a lapse in your pet’s insurance policy, so please ensure that your pet’s policy is renewed annually so there is no break in cover.
We encourage all of our clients to ensure their pet has a form of pet insurance; Lifetime Cover is a great way to cover your pet for illness and injury for life. Not only does this prevent vets from providing restricted treatments, it also ensures that animals are covered for life for their conditions, as long as there are no breaks in the insurance policy. When claiming on your pet insurance, all you are required to do is hand the relevant pet insurance claim form into our reception with the client sections accurately completed, where we will then complete the veterinary section FREE OF CHARGE and submit the paperwork with the animal’s full clinical history to your pet insurance company.
If you want the privilege of owning an animal, please be responsible and ensure that you take out a good standard pet insurance for the life of your pet. It’s the least we can do in return for the many happy years they give us.
If you would like more information on pet insurance, please do not hesitate to contact the team at St Clair Vets on 01670 457271.