Ticks are small arachnids, so are related to mites and spiders. They are blood-sucking parasites which are responsible for transmitting many serious diseases. There are many different species which live in many different countries. They are more prolific in warmer, humid countries.
In the UK, we have one main type of tick, the Ixodes tick. This parasite is very small when it first jumps onto its new victim, but by the time it has fed, it will have swollen to many times its original size. This tick can transmit Lyme’s disease, also known as Borreliosis.
Dogs who travel abroad, particularly to the south of Europe, may be exposed to many other different ticks. Some of these are starting to colonise the UK as well. Diseases which these ticks can carry include Babesiosis (which has now been found in Dermacentor ticks in the UK), Ehrlichiosis and many other less common diseases. All dogs travelling abroad should have regular tick treatments applied and do check the data sheet carefully as some products need applying more frequently against some ticks than others.
Tick repellents have a great role in preventing tick-borne diseases as they avoid the tick biting in the first place. However, many tick repellent products available to dogs are toxic to cats so take great care when using these if you also own a cat. It is always best to discuss the treatments with your vet. Most effective tick prevention is prescription-only so can only be provided by your veterinary surgeon.
|Active ingredient||Brand name||Formulation||Repellent or treatment||Toxic to cats in contact with treated dogs||Veterinary prescription required|
|Alfaxolaner||NexGard, NexGard Spectra||Tablet||Treatment only||No||Yes|
|Fipronil||Frontline, Frontline Plus (combination product), Certifect (combination product), Effipro, Fiprospot, Flevox, Eliminall, …||Spot-on or Spray||Treatment only||No||Yes for combination products|
|Permethrin||Activyl Tick Plus, Advantix, Vectra 3D||Spot-on||Both||Yes||Yes for combination products|
If you do find a tick on your dog, it should be removed as soon as possible. It is important not to leave any part of the tick behind which can happen if you use tweezers or such-like. Use an O’Tom Tick Hook to gently twist the tick so that it loosens its hold before you remove it, or go to your vet for them to do this for you.