Tick Control and Prevention

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This year more than any I have seen a large number of ticks on both cats and dogs. As vets we have always known ticks can be a problem and we expect to see a certain amount during the spring/summer and autumn months. However this year many clients have expressed their concern over the frequency at which they are removing ticks from their pets and are asking for our help as vets in order to prevent and control tick numbers.

Sadly there is nothing on the market at this time that will repel ticks but we can control their numbers by killing the adults.

Methods vary from monthly spot on preparations, to quarterly flea and tick tablets and finally long-term collars that can be left on for 8 months. Some of these products are only available to dogs and none will treat or control internal parasites such as roundworms. Therefore it is important that you worm your pets regularly and seek advice on which method is best for your pets.

Ticks can transmit disease such as Lyme’s disease and Tick Borne Fever. In these syndromes the ticks are not the cause of disease but the route of transmission as they carry pathogenic agents which then infect the host when the tick bites. Both of these conditions are treatable but they can cause illness in farm and domestic species. Lyme’s disease more specifically can present with limb and joint disease as well as problems with the kidneys, heart and nervous system. Enlarged glands with or without swollen, painful joints are the most common signs seen.

So what do you do if you find a tick on your pet? Firstly do not try to remove it with tweezers or by burning it off. Not only could this cause damage to your pets skin but you may leave the head of the tick in situ causing a tick bite abscess. You should either use a specially made tick remover or call your vets and make an appointment to remove the tick and discuss external parasite control.

And finally always check yourself for ticks if you have been walking in long grass and forested areas.
Hopefully our pets can remain healthy and tick free this year but remember your vet is always there for assistance if needed.

Kristina Kirk - B Vet Med MRCVS

Originally from Manchester but lived in Yorkshire as a child. I was schooled in Harrogate and went to university at the Royal Veterinary College where I earned my degree in veterinary medicine, graduating in 2011.

My first job was in mixed practice in Cornwall where I spent 2 years looking after everything from rabbits to horses and cattle. After gaining some valuable skills and knowledge as a new graduate I decided to move back to the capital and further my skills in small animal practice at Runnymede Hill Veterinary Hospital, focusing on medicine in particular. I hope to specialise in feline medicine and run a feline clinic one day.

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