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Beware of ticks

It's tick time and vigilance is essential to beat these disease-carrying mites

Lyme disease in dogs

A tick

In recent weeks the weather has been both warm and wet. I keep a rain gauge in my garden: in the first six months of this year, I recorded over 400mm, more than twice as much as in the same period in 2015. Having so much rain has been frustrating, as my favourite summer walks have been unseasonably muddy, and it has caused the grass in my field to grow and grow.

Ideal weather for ticks to flourish

Warm and wet weather also provides ideal conditions for ticks to multiply, but I’m delighted to say that I haven’t found a single tick on my spaniels so far this year. I am sure this is entirely due to switching their tick protection from the spot-on method I used for years to the latest technology. I now give my dogs Bravetco chewable tablets, which are claimed to be effective against ticks for 12 weeks, and which, I’ve found from my experience, continue to work for rather longer than that. Bravetco is a prescription-only product, so it’s available only through your vet, and it is very expensive at around £18 to £20 a go. That’s hardly cheap if you have only one dog, but if you’ve got several it really adds up. However, it makes sense to spend money on a product that really works rather than one that does only half the job. I might add that I haven’t received as much as a free sample from Bravetco, so my endorsement is based purely on how effective the product has been on my own dogs.

Be careful if spending time on the moors

Ticks are a menace, and unfortunately there’s nothing like Bravetco for us humans to use. Instead, diligence is essential: do check yourself over very carefully if you have been shooting or working your dog in an environment where ticks are abundant. I have found moorland to be one of the worst places to pick them up, so be especially careful if you are spending any time on the moors this summer.

Ticks carry several horribly debilitating ailments, from Lyme disease to bartonellosis. These diseases are just as worrying for dogs as they are for humans. To beat the enemy, you have to understand it, so I urge you to look at the website of Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK.