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Ticking along
Date:4/23/2013

In a related article, also published in Parasites & Vectors, Michael Leschnik and colleagues test the effectiveness of common anti-tick measures at preventing tick-borne infections in dogs. Their results suggest that owners should be much more careful to follow the manufacturers' instructions.

Dog owners throughout central Europe secretly dread the arrival of spring. Of course it is more pleasant taking a pet for a walk when the sun is shining but having to search the animal's fur afterwards for ticks is hardly most people's idea of fun. Georg Duscher and colleagues at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna's Institute of Parasitology have now shown just how much more likely dogs are to pick up ticks when the temperatures rise. The researchers analysed data for 700 ticks found on a total of 90 dogs that were regularly walked in a particular area in eastern Austria. Of the three species that occurred, the commonest, Ixodes ricinus, primarily infected dogs in April and May, although a second peak in infection occurred in September; Dermacentor reticulatus was largely found in March/April, with lower numbers in October; while Haemaphysalis concinna seemed to favour the summer, with the majority found in June and July. In other words, although the precise species of tick their animals are most likely to encounter varies with the season, dog owners need to pay attention to the possibility of ticks throughout the year, especially from March until November.

But surely it is possible to use commercially available products to keep Fido free of bloodsuckers? Unfortunately not: the scientists discovered that the number of ticks per day on animals treated with an acaricide, either alone or together with a repellent, was not significantly lower than on untreated animals. Worryingly, the ticks in question are capable of causing disease. Dogs in central Europe are at risk of four major tick-borne diseases: canine babesios
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Contact: Dr. Georg Duscher
georg.duscher@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-2211
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

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