Reports that the prevalence of ticks in dogs in Great Britain is higher than expected is a timely reminder of the vital importance of tick treatment in pets, according to the British Veterinary Association (BVA).
Research carried out by the University of Bristol’s Veterinary Parasitology Group and published in the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology found that at any one time 14.9% of dogs were infested with ticks. It also found samples of a tick species previously only found in continental Europe – the European meadow tick (Dermacentor reticulates) – adding to evidence that this tick is becoming established in Britain.
Commenting on the research, Harvey Locke, President of the BVA, said:
“This is a timely reminder of the vital importance of tick treatment for pets both in this country and when travelling abroad. It is a particularly important message as we approach the summer when owners should be treating their animals at regular intervals.
“There are many tick-borne diseases which can have a devastating impact on pets, livestock and humans and we hope that this research will remind pet owners of their duty towards their animals’ health and welfare.”
Commenting on the finding of European meadow ticks, Mr Locke added:
“The increase in ticks not previously seen in Great Britain is likely to be the result of increased animal and human movements around the world, as well as the changing climate. “These findings highlight the reason why tick treatment is a compulsory part of the Pet Travel Scheme, in order to reduce the likelihood of exotic ticks entering the UK.
“Owners taking their pets abroad should also be aware of the risk of leishmaniasis, an infectious disease transmitted by sandfly and common in the Mediterranean coastal areas.
“The BVA Animal Welfare Foundation’s leaflet on ‘Taking your pets abroad’ is a comprehensive guide to diseases encountered abroad and how to avoid them.”
1. The research was carried out by academics from the University of Bristol’s Veterinary Parasitology Group and published in the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology. For more information see the University of Bristol website: http://bristol.ac.uk/news/2011/7541.html
2. The BVA AWF leaflet ‘Taking your pets abroad’ is available to download via the BVA AWF website: http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/resources/leaflets/BVA_AWF_Taking_your_pets_abroad_1008.pdf or to order copies visit http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/resources/leaflets/