Study underlines that ticks present a risk all year round

A study carried out by The University of Salford and sponsored by Merial has found that ticks present a risk all year round1. Researchers found that ticks continued to quest in woodlands throughout the year, even during the coldest months and ticks could also be detected on dogs throughout the year. These observations concur with the results of a recent analysis of practice electronic health records which showed the presence of ticks on pets in all weeks between December and March2. The study confirms the importance of treating dogs all year round to help reduce the risk of transmission of tick borne diseases.

Lynda Maris is Product Manager for NexGard Spectra™ and says the study findings send out an important message that practices will want to pass on to clients, “It’s been thought for some time that ticks are very inactive or even dormant in winter and don’t present a risk. These findings show that they continue to quest in an attempt to find a host and are often successful. If ticks are attaching and feeding during the winter months, the risk of Lyme disease and babesiosis remains a real possibility. If the appropriate product is selected, the same year-round treatment programme that controls fleas and other parasites, will also treat ticks and thus help reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases.”

The study recruited nine veterinary practices and monitored tick activity across three woodland sites in Southern Cumbria. In some cases multiple ticks were found on the animals – with one animal hosting an incredible 21.

Post graduate student Jessica Hall has been running the study since 2013, which has also involved running PCR for detection of DNA from Borrelia burdorferi (Lyme disease) on the collected ticks, with this data due to be released early next year. She notes, “From the data we have collected in this longitudinal study we have identified questing ticks all year round at some sites and have shown that this pattern of questing activity results in pets being bitten by ticks even during winter.”

  1. Report MERUK02. Data on file.
  2. Sanchez-Vizcaino et al. Canine babesiosis and tick activity monitored using companion animal electronic health records in the UK. Vet Record (2016) 179 : 358

NexGard Spectra™ for dogs contains afoxolaner and milbemycin oxime. NexGard Spectra™ is a trademark of Merial Ltd. Legal category POM-V (UK), POM (Ireland). For further information please refer to the datasheet or contact Merial Animal Health Ltd, CM19 5TG. © Merial 2016.  All rights reserved.

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