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Ticks – what, where and when

Ticks are small parasites – they look a little bit like spiders as they have 8 legs, and they feed on blood.

They do not have wings and they cannot jump. They travel by walking on the ground and up plants from where they latch onto their prey with specially designed hooks on their legs. An unfed tick is approximately 3mm (sesame-seed-size) and small, oval and flat. After a blood meal, a tick can reach 11mm in diameter with the grey/brown body extending out from the back of the thorax.

Ticks are mostly found in woodland areas, as well as grassland and heath areas, however they can also be found in your garden if you are visited by lots of wildlife. They are most commonly found in habitats frequented by lots of deer, sheep, hedgehogs and foxes.

 

Spring and autumn are usually when we see the most ticks out and about, but they can be active all year round.

 

Why do we worry about ticks?

 

Apart from tick bites being uncomfortable for your pet, ticks can spread disease from animal to animal through their blood feeding mechanism. Tick bites are associated with the spread of Lyme disease, which dogs and cats can suffer from as well humans. Diseases such as babesiosis are most commonly encountered on the continent, but a few cases have been reported in dogs in Essex.

 

What sort of products are there available to help prevent ticks?

 

  • Spot-on: a small amount of liquid that you apply to the skin at the back of your

animal’s neck routinely

 

Dogs:

“Advantix”

  • NOT FOR CATS. Not to be used in a household where cats are present.
  • Applied monthly.
  • Repellent that acts to prevent ticks (and mosquitos and sandflies) from attaching,

feeding and therefore passing on disease. Kills fleas.

 

Cats

“Bravecto Spot-on”

  • Applied every 3 months
  • an insecticide that kills ticks and adult fleas

 

 

  • Collar:

 

Cats and Dogs

“Seresto”

  • if worn constantly, is effective as parasite prevention for 6-8months
  • releases low doses of a repellent into the animals skin and hair, deterring ticks

from attaching, and killing fleas that bite.

 

  • Tablets:

 

Dogs only

“Bravecto”

  • a chewable tablet given once every 3 months
  • acts as an insecticide, killing fleas and ticks

 

“Nexgard”/ “Nexgard Spectra”

  • a chewable tablet given once monthly
  • acts as an insecticide, killing fleas and ticks
  • Nexgard Spectra kills fleas and ticks, but also works against most gastrointestinal worms

and lungworm as well

 

 

How to incorporate tick cover into your pet’s routine parasite prevention plan:

Some examples

 

Dogs:

  1. Seresto Collar (for flea and tick prevention) every 6-8months
  2. Advocate spot-on (for lungworm, most gastrointestinal worms, as well as mites & fleas) monthly
  3. Tapewormer tablet (e.g. Droncit) every 3 months

 

Or

 

  1. Nexguard Spectra tablet (covering fleas, ticks, most gastrointestinal worms and lungworm) monthly
  2. Tapewormer tablet (e.g. Droncit) every 3 months

 

Or

 

  1. Bravecto tablet (covering fleas and ticks) every 3 months
  2. Universal worming tablet (eg. Milbemax) every month

 

Cats:

  1. Seresto Collar (flea and tick prevention) every 6-8months
  2. Universal worming tablet (eg. Milbemax) every 3 months

 

Or

 

  1. Bravecto spot-on (for flea and tick prevention) every 3 months
  2. Universal worming tablet (eg. Milbemax) every 3 months

 

 

This blog was written by Elly Berry – Vet at our Whitton surgery

 

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