Ticks and Lyme disease – the facts

Beware of ticks sign in parkTicks are out and about at this time of year, enjoying their holidays just like we are. But ticks aren’t out to have a good time like us, they’re looking for blood to feast on. Did you know they are carriers of diseases, such as Lyme disease, and that they can pass this onto your furry best friend or you as they feed?

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a serious condition and can be fatal if left untreated. It’s caused by a nasty bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi and can affect dogs, humans and, less commonly, our feline friends too. Ticks can become carriers of this disease after feeding on the blood of infected wildlife, which act as a reservoir for this infection.

Worryingly, the most common type of tick found on our pets (the sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus) is the main carrier of this disease. Humans should be wary too, as this tick can also attach to, and infect us – so watch out!

Early symptoms of Lyme disease in people mimic the flu and often includes a red ‘bull’s-eye’ rash.

In dogs, Lyme disease doesn’t present itself in the same way and the early signs can be less easy to spot. Signs you will be looking for include fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, swollen joints and sometimes lameness.

What do I do if I’m concerned my pet has Lyme disease?

If your pet starts showing any symptoms similar to those above, get them checked over by your Vet as soon as you can. You may not have noticed a tick on your pet, but this could be because it’s got all it needed from your pet and dropped off so it’s still important to get them checked out if you’re in any doubt.

Getting a diagnosis can be difficult and the tests don’t always provide absolute answers, but if you are concerned about your pet’s health for any reason it is best to seek veterinary advice.

How do I prevent my pet getting Lyme disease?

It’s best to check your pet for ticks when you get back from a walk, especially if you’ve been walking in woodland, heathland, moorland or long damp grass. 

It is also a good idea to invest in a tick remover to safely remove ticks from your pet.

Protecting your pet from ticks all year round is essential and this is where our range of flea and tick products can help. A preventative treatment is needed to protect your pet from ticks and some will also protect your pet from fleas at the same time – bonus!

Products such as Vectra 3D for dogs aim to repel ticks, helping to prevent them biting in the first place, whereas Frontline TriAct will kill ticks and fleas within hours of biting.

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