Wherever you live in the UK there is a risk that your pet could pick up ticks. Ticks can be found in long grass, parks, meadow, woodlands and kennels. Often, they will attach to your pets’ skin where the coat is much thinner, so a common place is around the ears. They attach themselves in order to feed, causing irritation and discomfort to your pet. Ticks have highly developed mouthparts which allow them to pierce a hole through the skin and feed on the blood, this causes your pets body to start swelling. During feeding ticks can transmit diseases, including Lyme disease, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis, these can be a serious risk to your pet’s health and potentially fatal. Killing ticks fast can reduce the potential risk of tick-borne diseases, so here at The Pet Medicine Company we offer a flea & tick treatment suitable for your cat or dog.

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the UK. It is most commonly found in dogs but can be contracted by other animals and people.  The symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash around the site of the tick bite, high fever, inflamed lymph nodes, limping from one leg to another, 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 Babesios parasite invades the red blood cells and destroys them, this causes the release of haemoglobin into the body which can lead to jaundice. Symptoms of the Babesios parasite includes lethargy, anorexia, pale gums, fever, discolouring to your pet’s urine, rapid heart rate and fast breathing. Anaplasmois is caused by a bacterium that infects and kills white blood cells. Symptoms can include lameness, joint pain, fever and loss of appetite. Other more specific signs during the early stages of the disease can include bruising on the gums and belly, and nosebleeds. These symptoms can typically last between 1 to 7 days.

Checking to see if your pet has ticks can be something you can do at home. The first place to check is the skin on and around your pets’ head, starting with the mouth, ears and neck running your way down to your pets forelegs and the rest of the body. You are looking for any lumps on the skins surface. When attempting to remove a tick avoid handling the parasite directly. Make sure to wear gloves and dispose of the ticks hygienically and effectively so they cannot re-attach themselves or lay eggs. The aim is to remove the whole tick, including its mouthparts. To help you with this you can use a special tool called a tick twister, this tool has a scoop with a narrow slot that traps the ticks. Simply slide the hook under the tick at skin level, rotate the hook and then dislodge the tick. It is important that you do not try and remove the tick with your fingers as you might not get the mouth of the tick, causing you to disturb the feeding and allowing the tick to lay more eggs.

Another tool you can use is the Trix Lasso Tick Remover. This easy to use pen-like tool has a button on one end which releases a small noose. Simply hold the button to press the noose outwards and place it over the tick at skin level. Release the button and gently rotate one turn and lift the tick away.

If in doubt, always consult a veterinary practice.