Facts About Ticks
What's the trouble with ticks?
Ticks are an increasing problem in the UK and can cause serious health issues. They are second only to mosquitoes in transmitting infectious disease to humans and animals.
- cause irritation
- lead to an abscess
- transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, which also affects humans
15% of dogs have ticks* however it is not known about the prevalence in cats, so they may be more common than you realise.
How does my pet pick up ticks?
Wherever you live in the UK, your pet could pick up ticks. These parasites live not only in rural areas but in urban parks and gardens too.
They find a host, such as your cat or dog, by ‘questing' – waving their forelimbs in the air – at the tip of vegetation.
As an animal brushes past, ticks transfer to them and attach themselves by biting through the animal’s skin and cementing themselves in place.
I’ve heard ticks transmit diseases – how do they do this?
Ticks have two stages of feeding – slow and then rapid engorement.
During the rapid engorgement stage, the alternate phases of salivary secretion and blood ingestion speed up. This is when diseases are most likely to be transmitted. As the tick secretes fluid into your pet, diseases can be transmitted along with it.
So, how do I protect my pet against ticks?
To protect your cats from ticks:
- Check your pet regularly for these parasites
- Apply a preventative treatment, such as FRONTLINE Spot On, every four weeks.
Once dead, most ticks will drop off naturally. If they don’t, try gently removing them – preferably with a tick hook (available from your vet & most pet stores). If the tick doesn’t come out, don’t pull harder as the mouthparts may be left in the skin, leading to infection. Instead take your pet to the vet.
Here's some more information about ticks:
* Taken from a survey on Prevalence, distribution and risks associated with ticks infesting dogs.