Ticks are everywhere: how your pet can pick up ticks

Week 3 Thursday

Ticks can be found in both rural and urban spaces. Do you think your pet is safe from Ticks? Think again.

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Fig. 1. A questing Ixodes spp. tick, waiting to jump onto your pet and start its blood meal.

Ticks are efficient hunters widely distributed in the countryside and parkland. They typically “quest” from low vegetation and shrubs. When they sense vibration, carbon-dioxide (CO2), warmth and humidity from a passing animal they climb aboard, attach, and start to feed on its blood.

 Ticks can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including woodland, grassland, parks and hedgerows. Recent studies have shown that the edges of woodland paths are a particularly high risk area; exactly the type of area that your dog is likely to explore on walks. Ticks are not just an issue in rural areas, and they can also be found in urban parks and gardens.

For more information about ticks, check our other articles here or visit www.bravopets.ie

 

 

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Protecting your pet against ticks

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Ticks can be a serious health hazard. Luckily there are numerous treatments to prevent tick bites on your pet.

Ticks are a common and serious threat to your pet’s health. The good news is there are lots of ways to help reduce the risk. Steps you can take include:

  1.  Regular use of a tick preventative treatment

Scientific advances have brought innovative solutions to the control of parasites in companion animals. There is now a broad range of modern products with improved activity, efficacy, convenience and compliance to treat your pet.  These options include spot-ons, sprays, collars, as well as oral chewable formulations.ticks on dog 2

Re-administration of product is usually required for effective long-term control of ticks at intervals which range from a typical 4 week up to 12 weeks for extended control. Speak to your veterinary practitioner 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.

  1. Check your pet for ticks.

The best time to check your pet is after a walk. Run your hands all over your dog’s body, looking for any unusual lumps or bumps. Pay particular attention to areas with less hair, such as the ears, groin, between the toes, under the front legs, and under the tail. However, it’s worth remembering that ticks can be tiny (unfed nymphs are about the size of a sesame seed), so it can be easy to miss them.

  1. Remove any attached ticks.

If you do find a tick, remove it promptly yourself or call your vet for advice if you’re Nobivac pic.unsure of what to do. Ticks should only be removed using a specific tick removal device (a hook or scoop). Do NOT attempt to burn, cut, or pull the tick off with your fingers, as this increases the likelihood that parts of the tick could be left behind and also increases the risk of disease transmission to your pet.

  1. Take action to protect yourself and the other members of your family.

Ticks are a threat to people too, and can transmit disease such as Lyme Disease.  Protect yourself and your family by covering up exposed skin when walking in areas where ticks are likely to be present, using an appropriate repellent and checking yourself for ticks after walking.

For more information about ticks, check our other articles here or visit www.bravopets.ie

 

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How can I tell if my pet has fleas?

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Fleas are tiny, just a few millimetres long, and very fast moving, so it can be difficult to tell if your pet has fleas. Here are some signs to look out for.

 The irritation caused by flea bites can cause pets to scratch excessively

  1. Biting or nibbling at the fur. As above, triggered by irritation due to flea bites
  2. Overgrooming (cats). In cats, the only sign may be that your pet is grooming excessively, which could also hairballs
  3. Hair loss, reddening of the skin. In more severe cases, particularly in those pets which develop an allergy, the excessive scratching can cause hair loss and damageimagesthe skin, triggering inflammation and infection.
  4. Fleas transmit tapeworm, so if you notice signs of tapeworm this could be due to a flea infestation. Signs of tapeworm include the appearance of dried, white to cream coloured segments, or pieces of tapeworm in your pet’s poo or stuck to the fur under the tail (these can look like grains of rice). Pets may also bite or lick the anus, or drag their hind quarters across the floor in response to the itching.

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If you think your pet might have fleas, try parting the coat near the base of the tail using your hands or a flea comb and look for movement. Most fleas grow to about the size of a pinhead and will move or jump when disturbed.

It’s not always easy to spot the fleas, and some animals may groom them off. If you don’t see any fleas, have a look for flea dirt; dark, pepper-like particles on the surface of your pet’s skin and coat (see Fig.1). You can easily confirm this by dabbing some of this material with a wet paper towel or cotton ball. If you see dark reddish brown or orange swirls, this is flea dirt and confirms that your pet has fleas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig.1. Particles of flea dirt on a damp paper towel

 

If you see evidence of fleas, or are concerned that your pet may be suffering, please contact your vet.

 

For more information about fleas, check our other article here (link to other post) or visit www.bravopets.ie

Fleas are tiny, just a few millimetres long, and very fast moving, so it can be difficult to tell if your pet has fleas. Here are some signs to look out for.

 

  1. The irritation caused by flea bites can cause pets to scratch excessively
  2. Biting or nibbling at the fur. As above, triggered by irritation due to flea bites
  3. Overgrooming (cats). In cats, the only sign may be that your pet is grooming excessively, which could also hairballs
  4. Hair loss, reddening of the skin. In more severe cases, particularly in those pets which develop an allergy, the excessive scratching can cause hair loss and damage the skin, triggering inflammation and infection.
  5. Fleas transmit tapeworm, so if you notice signs of tapeworm this could be due to a flea infestation. Signs of tapeworm include the appearance of dried, white to cream coloured segments, or pieces of tapeworm in your pet’s poo or stuck to the fur under the tail (these can look like grains of rice). Pets may also bite or lick the anus, or drag their hind quarters across the floor in response to the itching.

 

If you think your pet might have fleas, try parting the coat near the base of the tail using your hands or a flea comb and look for movement. Most fleas grow to about the size of a pinhead and will move or jump when disturbed.

 

It’s not always easy to spot the fleas, and some animals may groom them off. If you don’t see any fleas, have a look for flea dirt; dark, pepper-like particles on the surface of your pet’s skin and coat (see Fig.1). You can easily confirm this by dabbing some of this material with a wet paper towel or cotton ball. If you see dark reddish brown or orange swirls, this is flea dirt and confirms that your pet has fleas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig.1. Particles of flea dirt on a damp paper towel

 

If you see evidence of fleas, or are concerned that your pet may be suffering, please contact your vet.

 

For more information about fleas, check our other article here (link to other post) or visit www.bravopets.ie

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Terrible Tick Facts

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Talking Ticks? Here are some facts about these small, but dangerous threats to humans and animals alike

Ticks are a common and serious threat to pet and human health. Here are some facts that you may not have known:

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  • Ticks are members of the spider family (arthropods) that survive by drinking the blood of their hosts
  • Ticks are second only to mosquitos in terms of their public health importance worldwide. This is due to the diseases they transmit
  • Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease to both people and dogs
  • Milder, wetter winters mean that ticks are not just found in spring and summer, but are a year round problem
  • Ticks feed on your pet for up to 10 days, before dropping off to lay their eggs
  • Ticks are hard to kill, and can: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    • survive for up to 3 weeks under water
    • survive for 1 year without feeding
    • be found at altitudes of 1,500 metres
    • survive a trip through the washing machine
    • survive for 24 hours at temperatures of -13C
  • A single female tick can lay up to 6,000 eggs at a time!
  • Tick saliva contains an anaesthetic, so your dog will not feel the bite and neither will you!
  • Ticks can be hard to spot; before feeding they are tiny and can be hidden in your pet’s fur

 

For more information about ticks, check our other articles here or visit www.bravopets.ie

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My pet has fleas! How do I get rid of them?

Worried your pet has fleas? These tips on treatment can help bring you (and your pet) peace of mind.

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Getting rid of fleas can be a frustrating and expensive process, and it can take several months to completely resolve a flea infestation. But don’t panic, there are several things you can do to speed up the process  and get your pet and home flea-free again.

 

  1. Treat the affected pet. This is essential and will kill the adult fleas and prevent further contamination of the environment with eggs & larvae. 12 weeks of continuous treatment is needed to break the flea life cycle. Ask your vet about the most appropriate treatment for your pet; there are some products available which provide 12 weeks protection with a single dose.

 

  1. Treat all the other pets in the household. If any pets are left untreated, the flea life cycle will continue and it will very difficult to get on top of the problem. You may think that the other pets aren’t affected (cats in particular, are very good at hiding the signs of a flea infestation), but it is very important to treat ALL pets with a suitable product.

Flea life cycle

  1. Treat the home. Fleas have a complex life cycle, with 4 different stages (eggs, larvae, pupae and adults). Only 5% of this life cycle is spent as adult fleas on a pet, the other 95% is spent as eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment, including your home! Using a suitable home spray will help to eliminate eggs and larvae. But be aware that most environmental treatments have little affect on the flea ppae, as these are protected by their cocoons.
  2. Wash all your pet’s bedding. Washing bedding, blankets etc. will help to remove any flea eggs and larvae. Ideally, do a hot wash (60C) as this is more effective than cooler washes
  3. Vacuum regularly. Daily vacuuming in the early stages of treating a flea infestation can help to elimate the problem more quickly. The vibration caused by vacuuming triggers the fleas to emerge from their cocoons, and the fleas then end up in the vacuum bag rather than on your pet or you! You can also use some of the insecticidal environmental spray you’ve used in the house, in the vacuum bag, to ensure that the fleas will be killed.
  4. Continue to allow your pets access to all the usual places. It can be tempting to lock your pets out of certain rooms in your home when you know they have fleas. But doing this can actually slow down the process. If you continue to allow access to all the usual places, their presence triggers the fleas to emerge, and they will be then be killed as soon as they jump onto the treated pet.

It’s safe to say that prevention is definitely better than cure. Speak to your vet about the most appropriate parasite prevention protocol for your pets.

For more information about fleas, check our other articles here or visit www.bravopets.ie

 

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Ticks: Not just a rural problem

Research shows that ticks can be found in both rural and urban areas in the UK and Ireland

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Ticks are usually considered a mainly rural problem.  However, a recent study showed the presence of ticks at several sites in a large town in the southern UK, including parks, areas of grassland, hedges and woodland1.  Reports from veterinary practices demonstrate  there is a similar risk in towns and cities in Ireland.

Dogs living in urban areas can be exposed to ticks in several ways:

  • Gardens. Wildlife, such as hedgehogs and foxes, can carry ticks and act as a source of infestation for your pet.
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Fig.1. Forest and woodland trails are a common source of tick infestation

  • Parks. Urban greenspaces, particularly those with patches of woodland provide an ideal habitat for ticks. In parks where deer are present the risk is even higher; deer are a good host for ticks.
  • Weekend walks. Many of us like to get out of town for a few hours at the weekend, visiting nearby forests or mountains. These areas often provide a great habitat for ticks, putting your pet (and you) at risk of exposure to ticks and the various diseases they carry, such as Lyme Disease.

If you think your pet could be at risk, speak to your vet. There are a variety of treatment options available  including spot-ons, sprays, collars, as well as oral chewable formulations. Regular re-administration of product is required for effective long-term control of ticks, and there are products available which provide protection for as long as 12 weeks.

For more information about tick control, check our other article here or visit www.bravopets.ie

 

  1. Hansford et al. Ticks and Borrelia in urban and peri-urban green space habitats in a city in southern England. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, Volume 8, Issue 3, March 2017, Pages 353-361

 

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Fascinating flea facts

Fleas are the most common parasite for your pet. Find out the facts to fight fleas on dogs and cats.

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Fleas are reported to be the most common parasite affecting dogs and cats. Here are some facts that you may not have known:

 The world is host to over 2,000 species of flea, and they are a problem almost everywhere.

  • The cat flea is a very common type of flea, and despite its name, it also infests dogs, people and wild animals.
  • Fleas survive by drinking the blood of their host; a female flea can consume up to 15 times its own body weight in blood!
  • Fleas have a complex life cycle, with 4 different stages (eggs, larvae, pupae and adults). Only 5% of this life cycle is spent as adult fleas on a pet, the other 95% is spent as eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment, including your home!
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Fig. 1. Flea eggs are shed by infested pets wherever they go, including your bed!

 Once established, it takes at least 12 weeks of continuous treatment to resolve a flea infestation, and managing the issue can be very time consuming, frustrating and expensive.

  • A single tiny flea can quickly become a big problem. Female fleas lay up to 50 eggs per day and can live for up to 2 months on your pet; that’s 3,000 eggs from just 1 flea! In just 30 days, 25 adult female fleas can multiply to 250,000 fleas.
  • Flea pupae can remain dormant for months in the environment, meaning it takes a long time to get rid of them.

 

For more information about fleas, check our other articles here or visit www.bravopets.ie 

 

 

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