It's Tick Time!
Tick infestations are usually seasonal in the UK between March and June, and again from August to November, but there is still a risk of picking them up all year round. There are over 12 species of ticks present in the UK. Once the temp goes over 8-10 degrees, the ticks come out.
Ticks sit on the end of grass blades and detect carbon dioxide and heat of the passing host. They then hold on to fur as the host brushes through the long grass. If the skin is suitable, the tick will bury its mouthparts under the surface host’s skin, which is usually over the host’s face and ears, chest and front legs. As cats are regular self-groomers, they can sometimes be quick to groom them out, but can still be visible in areas that they miss, eg inside the ear flaps. You can distinguish a tick from a mass or wart by looking at the base of the tick to just see a narrow attachment and the parasite’s legs above the skin.
The host animal will detect the presence of the tick in the first few hours after attachment and put up an immune defence, clotting the blood which the tick is feeding from which can result in areas of swelling and localised pain. The tick counteracts the host’s clotting defence by releasing saliva with a number of anticoagulants and proteins, and also possible infectious organisms. This is why it is important to remove or kill the tick with anti-parasitic treatment within approximately 24-48 hrs of initial feeding. However, tick removal should not be delayed if you spot a tick before that time.
Tick removers are by far the safest and easiest equipment to use to remove ticks and are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Please do not use tweezers as putting pressure on the tick’s body can release saliva into your animal increasing the risk of spread of any disease they may carry. Pulling on the tick can also risk leaving the mouthpart in the skin, causing an abscess to develop in time.
We are very happy to remove any ticks from your pet, so do let us know if you are concerned.