Scilly’s Vet Encouraging Dog Owners To Check For Ticks

Islands' vet Heike Dorn

Islands’ vet Heike Dorn

Scilly’s Vet is encouraging dog owners to have their pets checked if they think they might have been exposed to ticks.

The blood sucking parasites seem to be feeding earlier in the year and for longer. Tick bites can transmit serious infections, such as Lyme disease, a debilitating illness that can cause long-term health problems in dogs, horses and people.

In dogs it can cause fever, swollen joints and even kidney failure.

In humans it causes a rash and flu-like symptoms, but may eventually produce abnormalities in the joints, heart and nervous system.

Public Health England estimates the number of new Lyme disease cases each year at around 3,000 while Lyme disease charities say the figure could even be as high as 15,000 annually.

Now, Heike Dorn’s practice is supporting the University of Bristol’s Big Tick Project. This new nationwide initiative aims to track the rise of the tick population in the UK and find out how many carry the disease.

Dog owners can take their pets to Heike for a tick check and advice about new methods to control the parasites.

Ticks are hard to spot when small but can transmit infections as they feed off the blood of their host.

Heike says if you notice any changes in your dog’s coat or skin, such as a tiny lump, she’d like to check it over.

Lyme disease is often associated with ticks found on deer but Heike says it’s possible that they could make the crossing from Cornwall on birds.

She’s only found four ticks on dogs in the eight years she’s practised here. But that could be because many owners remove them by twisting and pulling them out.

Ticks should always be removed with care to ensure any infection isn’t transmitted.

You can contact Heike at her Old Town surgery on 423 667 to make an appointment if you’d like your pet checked.