The Big Tick Project!

 

Haven Veterinary Group Ltd is proud to be participating in the Big Tick Project.

In the UK, Public Health England estimates the number of new Lyme Disease cases each year at around 3,000 while Lyme Disease charities say the figure could even be as high as 15,000 annually.  However, the majority of people are unaware that this potentially debilitating condition also affects our pet dogs.

What is the Big Tick Project?

The University of Bristol’s Big Tick Project is being supported by TV presenter, naturalist and dog lover Chris Packham, and aims to raise awareness of the risks and symptoms associated with tick-borne disease, and to educate owners how they can reduce their dog’s exposure to ticks and the diseases they carry.

Throughout spring and early summer when ticks are most active, vets taking part in the Big Tick Project will be giving dogs visiting their practice a tick check.  The ticks collected by vet practices will be sent for testing to the team of scientists at the University of Bristol who are leading the Big Tick Project. The team, led by Professor Richard Wall, will be examining the ticks for the presence of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases which it is feared may be emerging in the UK. Owners whose dogs have taken part in the project at participating vets will receive a Big Tick Project certificate and have helped advance the knowledge surround tick-borne disease in the UK.  

Why ticks are a health risk to pets and humans

Ticks are unpleasant in their own right, but they are also a threat to the health of your pet and your family.

Ticks also spread disease, and as external parasites are second only to mosquitoes in terms of their public health importance worldwide. Examples of diseases they may transmit in the UK include:

Lyme disease (borreliosis), a bacterial disease of dogs, horses and people – a growing problem in the UK

  • – In dogs it may cause lameness, fever, anorexia, lethargy, swollen joints and rarely kidney failure
  • – In humans it may cause a rash and flu-like symptoms, but may eventually produce abnormalities in the joints, heart and nervous systemDid you know…?
  • Babesiosis, caused by a microscopic parasite that invades red blood cells has also been shown to be carried by UK ticks. The disease can manifest with high temperature, increased respiratory rate, muscle tremors, anaemia, jaundice, and weight loss.
  • A single female tick can lay several thousand eggs at a time
  • It can take up to 3 years for the adult tick to develop
  • Tick saliva contains an anaesthetic, so your dog will not feel the bite and neither will you!How to detect ticksIf you find a lump:
  • Check your pet’s skin on its head first (around muzzle and ears, behind ears and on its neck), then work your way down its forelegs and the rest of its body, searching for any lumps on the skin surface.
  • So does your dog have ticks?
  • Part the hair and look at it more closely or with the help of a magnifying glass, if necessary
  • The place where the tick attaches may or may not be painful and there may be skin swelling – It is distinguished from other skin swellings and growths because close scrutiny can reveal the tick’s legs at the level of the skin It is important to dispose of any ticks you find hygienically and be careful not to release the live tick back into the environment as it could re-attach itself to your pet or lay eggs!
  • If you find a tick on your dog’s skin:
  • What to do if you find a tick
  • The ideal device for tick removal is a specially designed hook with a narrow slot which needs to be slid with care under the tick at skin level so as to grip the head of the tick
  • Secure the hook in place around the head of the tick, ensuring that it is not entangled in hair. The hook is then rotated around its axis several times until the attachment is freed. The loose tick will then be easily detached and removed without putting either the tick or skin under tension
  • When attempting to remove a tick avoid handling the parasite directly without gloves – remember ticks carry unpleasant infections!Effective control of ticks for your dogRe-administration of product is usually required for effective long-term control of ticks and fleas from topical and oral products at intervals which now range from a typical 4 up to 12 weeks for extended control.Tips on keeping your dog tick-free
  • For this reason, good compliance with instructions for repeat dosing is vital for optimum control. Speak to your veterinary surgeon for a recommendation as to which product is most appropriate for your pet and how best to ensure you give repeat treatments at the appropriate intervals.
  • Scientific advances have brought innovative solutions to the control of parasites in companion animals, with a broad range of modern products with improved activity, efficacy, convenience and compliance available only on prescription from your veterinary surgeon.  The wide options include spot-ons, sprays, collars as well as oral chewable formulations.
  • DO NOT attempt to burn, cut or pull the tick directly off – If you do so it is likely that parts of the tick head or mouthparts will be left behind
  • Groom your pet regularly – checking for evidence of new tick infestations.
  • Discuss the risks posed from ticks and other common pet parasites with your practice and follow their recommended approach to ensure optimal control for your particular circumstances.
  • Follow your vet’s treatment recommendations fully and at the correct intervals for the product in question. 
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  • For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Haven Veterinary Group Ltd or go to www.mypetonline.co.uk

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