Further to new research from Bristol University suggesting just under one-third (31%) of dogs were found to be carrying a tick, Andrew  Bucher, Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal has provided his thoughts to why the numbers are so high and what dog owners can do to treat ticks. A lack of adjustment to warmer winters prolonging the lives of ticks leaves pet owners and their animals at risk of contracting a range of illnesses. Diagnosed cases of Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated neurological problems and joint pain can develop months or even years later. There are five strains of the disease, three of which are responsible for most of the Lyme disease in Europe.

Andrew Bucher, Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal, the UK’s leading online pet healthcare retailer, said:

“Owners need to be aware that with milder winters and the relaxation of the pet passport rules within the EU, family pets are now no longer required to undergo tick-treatment before returning to the UK, and several species of tick, such as the brown dog tick, can carry diseases not normally found in the UK, such as babesia canis, which affects red blood cells.

“While there are a range of treatment options available, prevention will always be better than a cure, and we would urge pet owners to remain vigilant and regularly check their animals. With Lyme disease affecting roughly 3,000 Britons a year, it pays to be careful, and with several species of tick living indoors and able to breed year round, pet owners should look for signs of ticks outside of the regular season.”

Easy methods of prevention include:

·         Wear long sleeves and trousers (you can tuck them into your socks) when walking in wooded or moorland areas and if possible wear light-coloured clothes

·         Groom your pet regularly to check for infestations especially around the face and chest area

·         Apply a spot on treatment to your pet that either kills ticks or prevents them attaching in the first place

·         If you see a tick on your pet, use a tick remover, do not use your fingers or heat to remove them!