In our latest Ask the Vet article, one reader asks the best way to prevent her pet from getting harmful ticks.
Alison, from Nether Heyford, said: “I’m a bit worried that my dog isn’t on anything to treat ticks, after hearing about the tick disease in Essex.
“She’s on a spot-on that stops lungworm but I don’t think it does ticks as well.
“Should I be worried about ticks and do I need to change what I’m using?”
Sarah Elliot (pictured), from Weedon Vets, said: “The cases of the tick disease Babesiosis in Essex are concerning.
“This disease is carried by a tick that is normally only found on the continent but none of the dogs affected had travelled abroad.
“This means that, potentially, this tick is now resident in the UK, but further research is needed to confirm that.
“The Babesiosis parasite carried by this species of tick is transmitted to dogs when the tick feeds on them for 24-48 hours.
“It then destroys red blood cells and causes a life-threatening anaemia. Lungworm in dogs is also a potentially life threatening condition but unfortunately no single product is currently licenced to treat both parasites (ie had clinical trials to prove that it works).
“There are several products that can be used to keep your dog safe. I would suggest you talk to your vet about the best combinations.
“However, not all tick treatments work in the same way. You need a product that ideally will repel or kill the ticks before they can feed, in order to prevent transmission of Babesiosis.
“Fortunately most tick treatments also prevent fleas which, though not as serious, are a year round problem!”
Telephone Weedon #Vets on (01327) 344999.