Tick bite Prevention for Dogs and Cats
We have to be careful for ticks which our animals might get, especially during the summer in Dubai. Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses or parasites, which they can pass on to our pets but in some cases even to us. In order to inform you better we have gathered together some more information that will help you understand the danger of tick bites in your pet and helps you to protect your animals and how to get rid of these ecto-parasites.
How do I recognise a tick?
Depending on which area of the world you live, ticks might look different. In general they however all have the following features, 4 pair of legs, small head, large back-end when filled with blood.
How do I prevent a tick infection?
There are multiple anti-parasitical available which you can buy with your Vet, in Pet Shops and via online portals. Besides this you can manually remove the ticks after which you need to drown them as otherwise they will find another host in your home.
The products that are available work in different ways and come in different packaging; some are available as tablets, pre-filled pipettes, spray or shampoos, injectables. Not all of these products are harmless to your pet and some can not used for different species and require adult supervision when applying. In our clinic we work with several different products and change regularly our products as Ticks are known to build up resistance to some of the products.
It is also advisable to look back into what area you have walked and where your pet could have picked them up. If you know this, you can try to avoid these areas.
When you have a pet with a tick infestation it is important to consider that ticks will fall off in your pets living area and you therefore also need to treat the area, the car, the garden e.o. when an infection with ticks has been diagnosed.
Veterinarians in ABVC are recommending the following products to our clients: Bravecto, Advantix, and Frontline for the prevention of ticks and fleas in dogs (spot-ons). There are also sprays like Frontline sprays and medicated shampoo available, that can be used for the prevention of ticks and fleas. These products have to be used at regular intervals as per the leaflet enclosed for each product.
What else should I be aware of?
As we live in a transient society it is important to understand that when you leave this country to another country, special government imposed requirements are in place. Each country has its own rules and regulations for this. Tick borne diseases can be a reason for a pet to be excluded from travelling to a country. It is therefore once more important to keep your pet free from ecto-parasites like ticks.
Year-round tick control for animals is very important. Brown dog ticks, for instance, can survive comfortably indoors all throughout the year.
If you live in an area known to be hospitable to tick species, take preventive measures such as those mentioned above. Check your pet(s) daily for ticks and when found, ensure to remove the whole tick, including the head of the tick carefully. (Our vets, nurses and animal handlers are happy to help, show and teach you how to deal with ticks comfortably), avoid areas where tick exposure is high and reduce tick habitat by keeping the grass and shrubs trimmed and leaves scrape up.
Why is it important to apply regularly preventative tick treatment to my Pet?
Ticks can spread diseases when they suck blood from your dog or cat causing some serious problems. Besides this ticks can also be dangerous to human as they are not specific in their host choice. Some of these diseases can spread from animal to human and these are called a zoonose.
To start, let us identify first which most common diseases can be spread via them to our pet;
- Lyme Disease
What symptoms should I look for when my pet did have ticks and could have a tick borne disease?
In general, your pet will not thrive, he might run a fever (>39°C ), be more sluggish and lose appetite, irritable intestines and vomiting, very general symptoms, therefore. An investigation by the Vet which should include blood analysis migth show changes in the bloodcel confirmation, bleeding in the skin, clotting problems. A blood smear will in some occasions show the parasites in/on the bloodcel or white blood cell. A specific speed test for each of the above diseases will confirm the most likely disease after which this can be confirmed by a Laboratory. These infections can develop slow and in some cases faster. Certain breeds/species tend to react more severe to these diseases.
Dogs (and cats) become infected with tick borne diseases when the infected ticks feed on them by deeply burying their mouthparts into the skin of the dog and injecting the bacteria/viruses or protozoa into the dog’s/cat’s body. It can take as little as three to six hours for ticks to transmit the invaders. Once in the blood stream, they increase, multiply and spread throughout the system. Tick borne diseases like Ehrlicha are diagnosed due to a history of tick exposure, non specific but longer lasting symptoms and blood test showing positive results.
What treatment is available when my pet has been infected via a tick bite?
Long term specific antibiotics, anti parasiticals, supportive therapy and life saving therapy all have a place in this treatment. Regular rechecks will be necessary to ensure no relapse will take place.
In Al Barsha Veterinary Clinic the tests to screen your animals for some tick borne diseases, like Ehrlichia, are available. Feel free to contact us in case you have any questions.