The truth about ticks
With the recent discovery of a new disease transmitted by ticks found in the UK, it is now more important than ever to understand ticks, the diseases they carry and methods of prevention available.
Ticks have four life stages and are related to the spider family.
There are approximately 20 different species of ticks in Britain.
Without the ability to jump or fly, they wait on vegetation for an animal (or “host”) to walk by before attaching themselves.
The diseases that ticks can carry are usually acquired through feeding on blood from one host to another, rather than being born with them.
Ticks can transmit many diseases; the most prevalent currently being Babesiosis.
Babesiosis infects red blood cells causing them to multiply and rupture. This condition results in anaemia and subsequent organ failure if not diagnosed and treated promptly, therefore this disease can quickly become fatal.
Another disease that can affect both you and your pets is Lymes disease. This is a bacterial infection caused by a tick bite that is usually identified by a distinctive rash on the skin.
Climate change and the adjustment of the Pet Travel Scheme – whereby it is no longer compulsory to use tick prevention before entering the UK – are both contributing factors towards an increase in the tick population.
To help keep your pets safe from ticks and their potential diseases, regular and specific products are recommended to prevent parasites. Please contact your vet for further information.
With thanks to Laura Kenny RVN and Rosie Goodwin RVN from Uplands Way Vets Ltd