Tips against infestation of ticks in pets
Ticks use their strong mouthparts to bore through the skin and anchor themselves in it. We show you how to protect your pet
Ticks on pets ©iStock/Usagi-D
B especially often pet owners notice the infestation of ticks on their dogs after walking them or on outdoor cats. Ticks do not, as often amed, fall from trees or even jump around. They climb onto grasses and bushes, remain there in a lurking position and allow themselves to be wiped off by walkers or passing animals. And since ticks can be found not only in the forest, but also in parks, on meadows or even in gardens, not only wild animals, but also our dogs and cats are suitable victims to be infested by ticks.
Ticks do not only transmit Lyme disease
Just like us, our pets can also become infected with pathogens that are transmitted through the saliva of the tick. Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis or early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) are the most common ones. Cats are much less likely to become infected with pathogens through tick bites. According to current knowledge, Lyme disease, TBE or babesiosis have only rarely been found in cats.
The most widespread tick species in Germany is the common wood tick. This can z. B. transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and TBE. Babesiosis, also called "canine malaria", is transmitted by the alluvial tick. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of wood bucks carry the borroeliosis bug. It is important to know, however, that only a small percentage of ticks are infected with pathogens and pass them on.
There is no reason to overly panic at the beginning of the tick season in spring or even late summer, because a tick bite does not necessarily lead to an outbreak of disease. Nevertheless, infections in pets, especially dogs are affected, can lead to severe courses of disease. If the animal shows signs such as fever, movement disorders, loss of appetite or fatigue, a veterinarian should be consulted without fail. In rare cases, tick-borne infections can even lead to death.
Pack correctly instead of turning
After every walk or as soon as the outdoor animal has returned, the coat of the animal should be checked for ticks – especially if no tick repellent has been applied yet. That is, lift up floppy ears and look especially in places that are less hairy or where the skin is more unprotected. Often dogs and cats also show by scratching that they have caught an unloved lodger. To reduce the risk of infection or inflammation, the tick should be removed as quickly as possible, because many pathogens are transmitted through the saliva of the tick within a few hours of it being attached to the body.
Unscrewing the tick poses the risk that parts of the head or neck of the tick may be torn off. of the mouth parts stuck in the skin of the pet. This can cause inflammation. Better: use tick forceps to grab the tick as close as possible to the dog's or cat's skin, taking care not to put prere on the tick's body, and then pull gently and evenly on the tick. The use of liquids or oils to remove the tick is unsuitable, as this may place the tick under unnecessary stress and cause it to secrete further, possibly infectious tick saliva. Therefore, the wound should be disinfected only after the tick has been removed.
Pharmacy rather than home remedies
Prevention is the best way to protect your pet from annoying parasites. Home remedies in the form of spices, oils or scents are not a good choice here. Not every animal can tolerate them, the effectiveness is not proven and the false sense of security in which owners lull themselves can lead to reckless actions. For dogs there is the possibility of a vaccination by the veterinarian against Lyme disease. Unfortunately, other infectious diseases cannot be covered by vaccinations. Here it is important that the pets are regularly and continuously, especially in the tick season, protected against an infestation. There is a wide range of tick repellents that work well and quickly and are both easy to use for the owner and well tolerated by the animal. This is where spot-on solutions z. B. with the active ingredient fipronil, which are dripped into the fur. The existing ticks are thus killed after a short time. The preparations work even longer: They protect up to four weeks against renewed tick infestation.
Especially for dogs, there are also collars that contain a combination of active ingredients, such as z.B. Flumethrin and imidacloprid. The active ingredients in combination provide a synergistic effect. This repels ticks that infest the animal before they bite it. Contact with the active ingredients kills ticks within a few hours without the need to suck blood. So they can not infect any other host. The effect lasts for a period of up to eight months. Here's how to protect dogs for the entire tick season. A plus of many spot-ons and anti-tick collars: they also work against fleas.
With a careful eye, proper removal of ticks, and especially the appropriate choice of a tick repellent that optimally repels ticks before they bite, the risk of tick-borne diseases can be minimized for our pets as well. So your pet can continue to roam the woods and meadows, because ticks should then remain the lesser concern.
This article first appeared on the aporot blog. Have a look!