A woman found more than 10 ticks on both of her dogs after a walk at a reservoir in Port Talbot.
Samantha Clark was horrified to discover around 15 ticks on her Akita, called Nushka, and 10 on her Anatolian Shepherd mix, called Juniper, after a walk at Brombil reservoir, near Margam, on Saturday, May 22. Of the estimated 15 ticks found on Nushka, one was attached to her neck, one was in her ear and another close to her eye.
Ticks are small oval-shaped parasites that rank second only to mosquitoes in infectious disease spread to both pets and people. They require a host to feed from and can mainly be found in grassy areas.
Not only do they feed on dogs and cause them to itch, they can be carriers of lyme disease, caused by serious bacteria, which affects both muscle and nerve cells.
Samantha, who lives Swansea, spotted the first tick crawling through Juniper’s fur when they got back to the car after their walk through the woodland near the reservoir.
“I took them on the main path but I hadn’t been there before so I did venture up a few different routes to figure out where to go,” added the 28-year-old.
“The whole place is surrounded by woodland. We took a few random paths up and around the reservoir and then found our way back down where I let the girls have a swim before heading back to the car. The first one I saw was on Juniper in the car, it was just climbing her fur so I picked it off and thought to myself I’ll check them both properly later when I get home.”
After they arrived home Samantha realised that both of her dogs had “loads” of ticks on them, including one which had attached itself to Nushka’s neck.
She added: “When I got home I realised that they both had loads of them crawling around. I was horrified to be honest because I find ticks disgusting. I picked off all the ones I could see and then took my dogs out into the garden to bath and blow dry them.
“While doing this I found more of them, one of which was attached to Nushka’s neck, without the blow dryer I don’t think I would have found that one because her fur is so thick. I pulled it out with a pair of tweezers and I’ve since invested in proper tick removing tools because it’s best if you can remove the tick without leaving it’s head embedded in their skin.
“Since then I’ve come across the odd few. Two more were attached to Nushka; one in her ear and the other next to her eye. Juniper didn’t have any actually attached to her as far as I’ve found but I’m still checking them both multiple times a day to be sure, and I’ve washed all of their bedding too.”
British Veterinary Association junior vice-president Justine Shotton explained that dogs pick up ticks when walking through woods or high grass and she urged owners to check their pets for ticks after a walk.
She said: “Ticks can present risks to both animal and human health. Dogs commonly pick up ticks when walking through woods or high grass, where a tick will dislodge from low shrubs, or grass and attach itself to a dog’s fur, as the two cross paths. Prevention is always better than cure and we recommend that owners discuss year-round parasite control, including tick prevention treatments, with their vet.
“Owners should check their pets for ticks after a walk, and any ticks should be removed immediately using a commercially available tick-remover or fine-pointed tweezers, even if they are dead. A vet or vet nurse will be able to advise on the best way to do this. If owners find a tick and have any concerns about their pet, contact a vet immediately.”