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.