Almost a third of dogs checked at random across the UK were found to be carrying a tick, researchers say.
Almost 15,000 dogs from across the UK were examined in the study, which was carried out by Bristol University in 2016. Just under a third (31%) of these dogs checked at random during a visit to the vet were found to be carrying a tick. The finding comes from the largest survey of ticks in dogs.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and heath areas. They feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans. Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.
Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is
a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks.
Lyme disease can often be treated effectively if it's detected early on but if it's not treated or treatment is delayed, there's a risk you could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms.
The Trouble With Ticks
Ticks are bloodsucking parasites that can transmit diseases to your pet. Ticks are an increasing problem in the UK and can cause serious health issues. They are second only to mosquitoes in transmitting infectious diseases to humans and animals.
Ticks can: Cause irritation, lead to an abscess, and transmit dangerous diseases such as canine babesiosis and Lyme disease which also affects humans.
How Pets Pick Up Ticks
Wherever you live in the UK, your pet could pick up ticks. These parasites live not only in rural areas but in urban parks and gardens too.
They find a host, such as your cat or dog, by 'questing' – waving their forelimbs in the air – at the tip of vegetation.
As a pet brushes past, ticks transfer from vegetation and attach themselves to your pet by biting through their skin and cementing themselves in place. Then they start feeding on your pet's blood and can swell to the size of a coffee bean, which is 200 times their original size! Don't forget to regularly check your pet (and yourself) for ticks.