Our new 'Be Tick Aware' campaign aims to raise awareness about ticksand the diseases they can transmit.Tick numbers are increasing in the UK* and these parasites can be found wherever you go: gardens, beaches, forests, fields, parks and heaths.
That's why the 'Be Tick Aware' campaign is spreading the message about how pets and people can pick up these parasites and how to protect dogs and cats from the serious health risks they can cause.
* Source: Oxford Tick Research group – 3/4 of 6,000 people surveyed had noticed an increase in tick numbers.
The trouble with ticks.
Ticks are an increasing problem in the UK* and can cause serious health issues. They are secondonly to mosquitoes in transmitting infectious disease to humans and animals.
lead to an abscess
transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, which also affects humans.
15% of dogs have ticks**, so they may be more common than you realise.
*Source: Oxford Tick Research group – 3/4 of 6,000 people surveyed had noticed an increase in tick numbers.
**Source: Prevalence, distribution and risks associated with ticks infesting dogs, Smith, F; Ballantyne, R; Morgan, E; Wall, R accepted for publication in Medical and Veterinary Entomology.
How pets pick up ticks
Wherever you live, 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.
Tick-borne diseases and symptoms.
1 in 3 ticks have been found to carry an infectious disease that may affect dogs*. One such disease is Lyme disease, which can affect both people and animals. In fact, cases of Lyme disease in the UK have increased by 300% in humans since 2000**.
Lyme disease can affect both people and dogs, with the flu-like symptoms including fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, joint swellings and stiffness when moving. The intensity of these symptoms can fluctuate for months, and if left undiagnosed can lead to permanent disability. We have teamed up with BADA-UK (Borreliosis & Associated Diseases Awareness UK), a charity dedicated to raising awareness about ticks and the diseases they transmit. For more information and to download educational materials, visit BADA-UK.
Other diseases that can affect pets include:
Babesiosis – causes infected red blood cells to burst and in severe cases can lead to collapse andorgan complications, which can be fatal
Ehrlichiosis – affects the white blood cells with symptoms including anaemia, depression, loss of appetite and excessive bleeding
Anaplasmosis – affected animals show signs including lameness, weakness and fever.
* Source: Personal communication. F. Smith, University of Bristol.
** Source: Health Protection Agency.
How ticks transmit diseases.
Ticks have two stages of feeding – slow and then rapid engorgement. 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.
Be Tick Aware before travelling.
If you're thinking of taking your dog on holiday, it's important to be aware of ticks – bloodsucking parasites that can transmit diseases to your pet. Your dog is at higher risk of tick-borne diseases when travelling abroad. And although the Pet Travel Scheme no longer requires travelling dogs, cats or ferrets to be treated for ticks, it's advisable to do so. This will help prevent exotic ticks and the diseases they carry from entering the UK and Ireland and affecting pets here.
These are some of the most common tick-borne diseases and their associated risk level. If you are thinking of travelling abroad with your pets you might like to visit fleatickrisk.com before you go.