Spring is in full swing and tick numbers are set to peak between late spring and autumn.
Ticks latch themselves onto a person or animal and grow in size over several days as they feed, before dropping off.
Ticks can carry and transmit Lyme disease, or borreliosis, a debilitating bacterial illness which can affect both people and their pets.
Only a small proportion of ticks carry this disease but confirmed cases are increasing.
Prevention - Speak to your vet as some flea treatments also kill ticks.
Ticks are more often found in wooded and moorland areas, especially in long grass.
Always check your pets after they have been outside. the most ommon areas for ticks on pets are the head, ears, legs and underside.
Hedgehogs and foxes are common tick carriers so pets in urban areas with high fox populations are also at risk.
Symptoms - A small percentage of pets that have been bitten by a tick will develop Lyme disease. It can cause a rash, a raised temperature, lack of energy, lameness – due to joint inflammation – and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may not appear at the same time as the tick is noticed so they may not be linked to Lyme disease initially.
When they first attach, a tick may be the size of a small pinhead but, as they suck blood, they can grow to the size of a match head and may look like a bluish-grey, pink or purple lump.
Treatment - If you do spot a tick, on yourself or your pet, don’t worry, but have it removed properly as soon as possible. Don’t just pull it off as this can leave the mouth part attached which can lead to infection. It is best to ask your vet to remove any ticks from your pet as they will have special tools for doing it safely.
PDSA is delighted that funding from People’s Postcode Lottery is helping the charity. For more pet care tips log onto www.pdsa.org.uk