After a walk, it is possible to find ticks in the coat of dogs and cats. These can be responsible for disease in pets, so it is important to control these parasites.
What is a tick?
Ticks belong to the family of mites, unlike fleas which are insects.
They are hematophagous parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts (dogs and cats). The blood meal lasts 2 to 3 days and then the ticks drop to the ground.
Ticks multiply mainly in spring and autumn. They are located in tall grass, brush, bushes. Ticks attach themselves to the animal through their rostrum.
Ticks can cling anywhere on the body, but they attach preferentially around the ears, in the neck and between the fingers of animals.
What are the health problems caused by ticks in dogs and cats?
Following a tick bite, a small wound may be present. Disinfection is recommended with usual disinfectants (chlorhexidine, betadine).
If the tick is not removed properly and the mouthpart remains in place, then there is a risk of infection with the help of a tick remover for cats. A consultation with a veterinarian is recommended for the implementation of appropriate care.
There may also be the formation of an inflammatory granuloma. It should gradually decrease in size and disappear within a month. If this is not the case, a consultation with a veterinarian is necessary.
Ticks are also vectors of serious diseases: this is the main risk linked to ticks in dogs and cats. Indeed, they can inoculate pathogens into the blood of the animal during the blood meal. The inoculation of the pathogenic agents is done at the end of the meal. Here are some serious vector-borne diseases transmitted by ticks:
- Piroplasmosis or babesiosis in dogs: it is due to the inoculation of babesias by embedded fully ticks on dogs. These are parasites that reside inside red blood cells and cause hemolysis. Affected animals then suffer from anemia. They also have fever and dark “Coca-Cola” colored urine (bilirubinuria). It is possible to vaccinate dogs against piroplasmosis.
- Lyme disease or borreliosis in dogs: it is a disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms can occur several months after the tick bite. It is characterized by fever, joint and muscle pain, anorexia, etc. There is also a vaccine against borreliosis.
- Mycoplasmas (formerly called hemobartonellosis) in cats: it is a disease caused by bacteria that cause destruction of red blood cells and anemia in cats.
Ticks can also transmit ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis to our animals.
When is the best time to treat an animal?
Ticks multiply mainly in spring and autumn: there is therefore a seasonal nature. this is the main risk linked to ticks in dogs and cats. Indeed, they can inoculate pathogens into the blood of the animal during the blood meal. The inoculation of the pathogenic agents is done at the end of the meal. Here are some serious vector-borne diseases transmitted by ticks:
How to protect your pet against ticks?
To protect dogs and cats effectively against ticks, it is necessary to use acaricidal treatments, that is to say that kill ticks. They do not exist alone and are associated with flea treatments. Be careful, the products do not necessarily have a repellent action: it is therefore advisable to inspect the animals after a walk.
All animals in the house should be treated for parasites. Attention, the products used for dogs can be toxic for cats, it will therefore be necessary to check the species of destination of the product!
Antiparasitic treatments exist in different forms: pipettes, collars, tablets, etc. They must be chosen according to the species of destination, the weight and age of the animal as well as the parasites against which they are effective.