"The Willow Veterinary Clinic Taking General Practice to a Higher Level"
Until recently, we rarely saw ticks on pets which hadn’t left the Stoke on Trent. Towards the end of last summer we started to see more and more ticks on local pets which hadn’t travelled, and the same is true of this year, so it appears that the local tick numbers must be on the increase.
Ticks are small arthropods which attack onto mammals in order to take a blood meal. They start as small as a grain of rice, then as they ingest blood their body swells, up to the size of a pea. When they have finished taking blood (usually after a few weeks) they fall off and crawl away to complete the next stage of their life cycle.
As well as causing an intense local reaction which makes dogs and cats itch at the site that the tick is attached to, ticks can transfer diseases during the time that they are attached to the animal, such as Babesia, Lyme’s disease and Ehrlichiosis, all of which can cause severe illness.
Ticks are best prevented by a tablet or spot on formulation during the summer period, however if your dog picks up an uninvitied visitor, they must be removed promptly to avoid disease transmission. It is important that they entire tick is removed, as if the tick’s mouthparts are left under the skin this can cause a inflamed or infected lump at the site of the tick bite. Special tick removers can be used which twist the tick out easily, and the tick can then be killed.