Parasitology experts Bayer Animal Health is issuing a reminder message to all dog owners as the spring ‘tick season’ nears. During spring, blood-sucking ticks can be amongst the most common problems for the family dog – particularly in prevalent areas or ‘tick hot-spots,’ such as the New Forest, Salisbury Plain, The Lake District and Exmoor where tick-related diseases are so common that one local vet has termed them the ‘Exmoor Syndrome’.
Simon White, a vet at the White Lodge Veterinary Clinic in Somerset, sees patients with ticks on a regular basis so has joined with Bayer Animal Health to urge pet owners to consider an anti-parasite treatment to prevent their dogs from being bitten by ticks during their daily walk.
Simon explained: “The recent mild winters and reduced burning-off of moorland have allowed a huge increase in tick numbers, which continues consistently throughout the year - although it is fair to say that the only time we stop seeing ticks is after a few days of frost.”
Bayer’s Meike Tobschall added: “Ticks are a problem in certain areas all across the UK and dogs should be checked for ticks after every walk, particularly after walking through vegetation such as rough grasses, bracken, gorse and heather areas that are particularly capable of harbouring ticks.”
Not only can tick bites cause skin irritation for both dog and owner but ticks can also transmit dangerous diseases via their saliva. Lyme Disease for example can cause fever, acute lameness, joint swelling and renal failure in dogs as well as arthritis and skin problems in humans.
Indeed, Simon explained: “We are seeing more and more cases of Canine Vector-Borne Disease (CVBD) transmitted by ticks and we have had several dogs die from tick-borne disease despite prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”
He added: “The best protection against ticks is to treat your dog with a product which not only kills ticks but also acts as a repellent to block ticks from attaching to your dog in the first place. By using a preventative treatment, which is available from veterinary surgeons, owners can confidently protect their dogs.”
Dog owners, Desmond Spier and Glenys Harrison-Poole from Minehead, received treatment for their dog “Skipper” in the summer after he contracted a tick-borne infection whilst out walking in moorland on the edge of Minehead. His owners noticed something was wrong when Skipper had reddened eyes and was lethargic. Skipper has now recovered after being treated for “Dry Eye” and a high fever, and he now receives regular, preventative tick care from Simon’s practice.