May ~ Tick Awareness Month
The Big Tick Project was launched in April 2015 by Chris Packham and Professor Richard Wall, in conjunction with Bristol University, and was the largest ever veterinary study of ticks and tick borne diseases in the UK. Its website hopes to raise awareness amongst pet owners, through education, protection against ticks and what to do when you find one.
Recently, I was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease, I have no idea when I was bitten but it has made me more vigilant in searching, not only myself but, our dogs too. It is very hard to diagnose Lyme’s Disease in the UK, the symptoms are awful and it is difficult to get rid of, unless you are diagnosed very quickly after finding the tick bite.
Tick borne diseases, in dogs, also have horrible symptoms, which can take up to 18 months to show and again the treatment is not pleasant including lots of antibiotics.
My Blog Post – March 2015
It has been two years since I wrote my blog post “Dog Health: Ectoparasites, Anthropods, Arachnids“. It came about after finding the first tick on Barney, when we returned from a holiday in The New Forest. Back then I didn’t know much about ticks, believing that they weren’t around in our cold winter weather here in the UK, the post took a lot of researching and helped me to learn more about ticks.
Earlier this year, whilst we were away in Scotland, we found and removed two ticks on Barney. One right next to his ear channel and another hidden in the fur on his chest. I have to say, ticks make my skin crawl, I am always a bit nervous removing, even though I have a O’Tom Tick Hook Remover. You are never 100% sure it’s all out until you see the head (yuk, yuk, yuk!). I have removed 4 ticks with this tick hook successfully, thank goodness!
The Project Results
After the initial project results, the Big Tick Project found that ticks are a growing problem and on the increase in the UK. Due, in part, to our warmer winters and wetter summers, the ticks are able to start feeding earlier and for longer. Also lack of adequate treatment and prevention by pet owners meant that about 1 in 3 dogs were infested by ticks however, only 12% of people were concerned by the risk posed by them.
What You Can Do
- Educate yourself about ticks by reading my blog post and the Big Tick Project website,
- Talk to your vet about the different ways to prevent ticks,
- After walks, check yourself and your pets thoroughly,
- Look at the tick interactive map, which was created after the project results, to understand the level of risk in your area or an area you may be visiting,
- Be aware of the symptoms in humans and dogs from tick bites,
- Get involved by backing the project’s campaign for changes to the pet travel scheme and become a part of the Big Tick Project by filling out their survey,
- Purchase a tick removal hook, so you can remove ticks safely,
- Know how to remove a tick should you find one,
- Be aware that ticks, can be found in urban areas as well as the countryside,
- Keep up to date on the latest news, via the Big Tick Project’s Facebook page.
Have you found any ticks? Do you have any tips on prevention? Let us know, as much as we don’t love ticks, we’d be interested to hear of your stories.