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Spring and Your Pet

JustAnswer - Spring and Your Pet

JustAnswer - Spring and Your Pet

Spring and Your Pet

By Monica on 13 April, 2016

Spring is a wonderful time for pets – the weather’s great, and that frequently leads to more outside time, which most pets love.  Dogs especially need walking every day.  However, spring also means longer grass – and longer grass means ticks.  Ticks carry diseases that can lead to severe consequences for your pet.

What are ticks?

Your pet can easily pick up ticks while outside.  Ticks are part of the spider family and they latch onto your pet, feeding from their blood.  They are not uncomfortable for your pet and tend to drop off naturally after 5-10 days. 

How can I get rid of them?

You should check your pet regularly for ticks and remove the little sac-like objects if you see them, using a specialist, inexpensive tick removal tool.   Ticks can be found most often around the head and ears of a dog – picked up as they investigate scents in hedgerows, grass and burrows.

What diseases can ticks carry?

The main tick-borne diseases to be wary of in the UK are Lyme Disease and Anaplasmosis.  Both illnesses are treatable but can cause problems if left undiagnosed.

What are the main symptoms of Lyme disease in my pet?

Most cases show no symptoms at all, but your pet may show lameness, fatigue and fever.  They may also lose their appetite and have enlarged nymph nodes.

What are the symptoms of Anaplasmosis?

This is transmitted by the sheep tick and attacks white blood cells, hurting the immune system, and can lead to fever, lameness, loss of appetite and weight loss, joint swellings and even seizures.

Are there any other tick-borne diseases I should watch out for?

Some European tick diseases may be moving into south-eastern UK, transmitted by European ticks.  For example there have been recent cases of Babesiosis which causes severe anaemia.

Can I prevent tick-borne illnesses from infecting my pet?

Most tick-borne diseases are passed on to a pet after 48 hours, in the tick’s rapid feeding phase.  You can buy a product such as FrontLine, which ensures ticks are killed off before this phase and prevents the transmission of diseases.  As mentioned, removing ticks early will also prevent transmission.

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Do you have more questions about tick-borne diseases and their effects on your pet?  Is your dog acting out of character?  Check symptoms with one of JustAnswer’s qualified Veterinary Experts before taking your dog out to an appointment.