Tick control essential right now

Sep 4, 2023 | Parasites, dogs, PET BEHAVIOUR, PET CARE INFO, Viruses, Tick and flea control

Tick control has never been more necessary than right now. According to Country Animal Clinic veterinarian, Dr Ingrid de Wet, the weird weather we are having (wet and cold one day, hot the next) has brought out the ticks in droves and clinics are seeing more and more cases of biliary (tick bite fever). One dog owner reported removing 300 ticks from her dog after a walk in the veld.

Tick bites can kill

It takes just a single bite for a tick to transfer the blood parasite to your dog so it’s not enough simply to remove ticks from your dog’s skin when you see them. The only way to properly protect your pet is by using parasite protection like Bravecto, Nexgard, Fipronil or any of the other brands available. Ask your Vet or Vetshop for a recommendation as it is important to find the right product for your pet.

Ticks are carriers of multiple diseases like ehrlichia (tick bite fever) and biliary (tick fever / babesia) . Ehrlichia is caused by a blood parasite called Ehrlichia canis that is transmitted when an infected brown dog tick bites your pet.  It has two distinct disease forms: acute (early) and chronic (long-standing) form. The same tick can cause tick bite fever in humans too, and that’s not a pleasant experience at all.

Tick bite fever: symptoms

In the acute form of ehrlichia the most common signs are:

• fever

• loss of appetite

• vomiting

• diarrhoea.

These symptoms usually last about 2-3 days after which some dogs recover. In the more chronic form, symptoms include spontaneous bleeding (such as nose bleeds or bleeding from the gums), coughing,  weight loss, loss of appetite, weakness, enlargement of the lymph nodes, and pale gums. Dogs not treated in the acute form will often progress to the chronic form, which can eventually lead to death.

Prevention is easy; treatment isn’t

As with everything, prevention is always better than cure. And it can be simply and safely done all year round. Continuous long-term tick and flea protection must be applied, whether you choose chews like Bravecto and Nexguard, spot ons, powders or collars. It is not enough to rely simply on shampoos and dips nor on the physical removal of ticks, however often you do it. And don’t think that because you live in a suburb your pets are safe from ticks. Ticks don’t live exclusively on farms; they love a suburban garden or park just as much as farmland.


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