With Frontline launching their national campaign to raise awareness of ticks during September, what better man to support it than celebrity animal lover Bill Oddie.
Both his daughters own dogs and because he understands the dangers of ticks and fleas, he was willing to raise awareness of the campaign in order to help both them and the millions of dog owners out there. He has also been on the receiving end of ticks too, so knows how vital it is to seek help, both medically for humans and veterinary for dogs, as soon as possible.
During the evening in question, he was stretching out in front of the TV, when his wife spotted a tick under his arm. As anyone would do, he panicked because he had just finished reading an article on Lyme Disease and knew how dangerous it was. Luckily, the tick was removed and Bill suffered no further symptoms. However, he believes it's an issue that could be neglected if owners are unaware and recommends people get into the habit of checking their dogs everyday for these parasites after walking.
According to the NHS, the most common symptom of this disease in people is a pink or red circular rash, which develops around the area of the bite, between three to 30 days after being bitten. As well as this, people can also experience flu-like symptoms. If it is left untreated, further problems can occur months or years after, which include muscle pain, joint pain, or neurological symptoms such as temporarily paralysis of the the facial muscles. Cases in humans have increased by 300 per cent since 2000.
There is no vaccine for people who contract Lyme Disease and while America introduced one in 2002, it was later withdrawn due to concerns over side effects.
Ticks are also a problem when it comes to travelling abroad with your pet. The most updated Pet Travel Scheme rules were relaxed and so it is no longer mandatory for pets entering the UK to be treated for ticks. Therefore this could lead to an increase in tick-borne diseases, such as Babesiosis or Ehrlichiosis.
Babesiosis is more common in Europe, Africa and Asia and is a disease of the red blood cells, caused by infection. Meanwhile, Ehrlichiosis is found in Europe, the USA and Africa, and is disease of white blood cells, caused by infection. Consequently, it is vital that dogs who have travelled abroad to be treated for ticks before they return to the UK. This will then help to prevent the introduction of European tick species and the spread of the above diseases.
When travelling home from a holiday in Majorca yesterday, I was waiting at the check in desk with my sister and friend when two people took a dog out of a carry case and walk off through the airport. It certainly made the wait at the desk a bit more interesting!
My grandma has a Lhasa Apso called Daisy and so I asked her a few questions about ticks:
Are you aware of the dangers that ticks pose for both animals and people?
Yes, these parasites will suck the blood of animals and people and can carry infectious diseases. I check Daisy after I have taken her for a walk to make sure there are none on her. We tend to stick to main paths when we're out, but if I took her to areas of woodland or grassy areas, I think I would be more worried about ticks because there is probably a larger population there. We also have foxes and other wildlife in our one acre garden, so I always check her when Daisy comes in from there too.
How often do you apply Frontline to Daisy?
I apply this to Daisy every three months, which is what my vet advised me to do. I have also used this product on other breeds of dog I have owned, including a Springer Spaniel, King Charles Cavalier and Shih Tzu.
Have any of your dogs ever suffered from ticks?
I had a Springer Spaniel, Sherry who had a tick in the 1980s. We were in Norfolk for a weekend away, when I noticed something strange on Sherry. It looked like a growth, but we rushed her to the emergency vet in Norfolk to get it checked out. The vet immediately said that it was a tick and it lucky that we hadn't tried to pull it off ourselves because it would have left the mouth hooked into the skin, which could have become infected. The vet treated her and managed to extract the tick from between her ear and her neck. From then on, I have used Frontline to help protect my dogs, including Daisy. (Pictured below).
Frontline Spot On can help you prevent ticks because it is able to kill them through contact and not through your dog's bloodstream. From where you apply it, it spreads all over your pet's body and concentrates on the sebaceous glands of the skin (microscopic glands which are attached to the hair follicles). This helps to prolong its efficiency - even after bathing, swimming and grooming.
Ensure you read and follow the dosage instructions of Frontline and to ensure your dog is fully protected, it's best to apply every four weeks. Owners can even use this on puppies as long as they are more than eight weeks of age and weigh more than 2kg.