Ticks don’t go into lockdown

Ticks don’t go into lockdown. They ignore the fact that you can’t walk your dog by infecting your garden. Haven’t seen any? You probably won’t. Ticks are masters are tucking themselves into tiny spaces – until your dog comes by.

Unfortunately, one of the first habits we’re likely to break during lockdown is regularly applying parasite control to our pets. They’re not going for walks, what’s the point? I’ve run out of parasite control, a few more weeks won’t matter… Unfortunately, they will. Every day that your dog or cat remains unprotected, increases his/her risk of contracting biliary. Biliary is a tick-borne disease that kills thousands of dogs and cats every year yet it is entirely preventable – if you keep up the parasite control. Treating biliary will cost you thousands in veterinary bills, if your pet survives.

Ticks, of course, also carry disease that affects people like tick bite fever, Lyme disease and ehrlichia, a bacterial illness that causes flu-like symptoms.

Here are some myths about ticks courtesy of DogsAndTicks.com that need debunking:

Myth #1: The best way to remove a tick is with a lit match, fingernail polish, or Vaseline.

Fact: None of these methods cause the tick to let go, and all of them may actually result in the tick depositing more disease-carrying saliva into the wound, increasing the risk of infection.

Instead, grasp the tick as closely to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull the tick’s body out slowly and steady.  Wear rubber gloves, and clean your pet’s skin with soap and water after removal. Dispose of the tick by putting it into a container with methylated spirits or pure alcohol, or flushing it down the toilet.

Myth #2: If I find a tick on myself or someone in my family, Lyme and other tick diseases can be ruled out immediately with a blood test.

Fact: Laboratory results for tick-borne illness in people are often negative on the first sample and you may need a second test two to three weeks later to confirm infection. Children are more susceptible to infection due to their immature immune systems.

Myth #3: Ticks aren’t a problem in winter; it’s too cold for them to live outside.

Fact: Veterinarians recommend year-round preventives because infection can occur at any time of the year. Ticks may move indoors as it gets colder; others manufacture their own kind of ‘anti-freeze’ to say alive.

Myth #5: Ticks live in trees, so as long as I don’t live near or visit a wooded area, I don’t have to worry about them.

Fact: Ticks live on the ground whether in a suburb or on a farm. They usually catch on to a pet’s fur from blades of grass and then make their way up the pet’s body.

Myth #6: Ticks are insects.

Fact: Ticks are actually a species of parasite called arachnids that belong to the same family as mites.

Since signs of tick-borne disease are difficult to recognise in both pets and people, simple preventive measures and understanding as much as possible about these nasty creatures are the best ways to keep everyone safe.