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Focus Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Services




Posted on September 7, 2020 at 5:50 PM

Hi folks, Just wanted to bring your attention to the photo below (I have my client's permission). The thing attached to this dog's ear is not a growth or tumour, it is in fact a big fat tick. Meet Ixodes Ricinus also known as the Sheep tick, Deer tick or Castor bean tick. These ticks, are parasites, living off the blood of their hosts. The tick "nymphs", sort of a tick teenager, go for smaller hosts such as rabbits or rodents, these smaller hosts can be carriers of disease/viruses. If a teenage tick feeds off an infected host the tick will be a carrier of that disease for the rest of it's life cycle. The adult ticks, like the one in the photo below, prefer larger hosts such as deer, sheep, dogs and humans (yes, you read that right!).

How did this dog get the tick? Well, really easily, it just went for a walk. An adult tick (and it's friends!) had climbed to the top of a plant/grass/twig and just hung out, waiting for a host to crawl on to.

Ticks can carry a wide range of zoonotic diseases (i.e diseases that transmit from animals to humans). These diseases/viruses are serious and include Lyme Disease and tick-borne encephalitis.

What to do if you find a tick on your dog. Do NOT attempt to remove it if you don't know what you are doing (as a groomer I was taught how to). You can ask your groomer or vet to show you how to use a tick tool to remove them safely for both your dog and yourself. Do NOT attempt any methods such burning or applying "solutions" to them. This can make the risk of infection even higher. It is very important that the entire tick is taken off in one piece (all mouth parts), that it is not squeezed and you are protected from potential infection at all times (including disposal).

How to prevent ticks getting on to your dog: watch where you are walking; try to avoid areas of high deer/sheep populations and long grass. Use a flea product that includes an active anti-tick agent. Brush or wipe your dog after a walk. Pay particular attention to their ears, feet, armpits, groin and belly areas where ticks are most likely to feed (but they could be anywhere).

If your dog or you are bitten by a tick, make sure you find out the signs and symptoms of infection. The current advise is that you do not need to see your vet/doctor if your dog/you have been bitten but have no signs/symptoms of an infection.

Please note I couldn't source a copyright free picture of an unfed/hungry Ixodes Ricinus tick. They look completely different, much more flatter and more spider like, please search it up so you know what to look for. Pippa x


Categories: health and welfare

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