They’re creepy, they’re crawly…and they can carry diseases. Fleas and ticks are not just a nuisance but pose animal and human health risks. They suck your pet’s blood, they suck human blood, and can transmit diseases.

In the United Arab Emirates, fleas are not that common. But ticks…they’re everywhere! Some of the tick-borne diseases seen in this country include Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis. That’s why it’s critical to protect your pets from these pesky parasites and keep the creepy crawlies out of your home.

Prevention is key to control those crawlies. Good news! They are a lot of preventative products veterinary approved available in the UAE. And they’re effective on fleas AS WELL AS ticks. So, let’s talk a bit more about ticks (and not fleas) as that’s the main concern here…

What are ticks?

Ticks are closely related to spiders, scorpions and mites. There are approximately 900 tick species worldwide, but only a handful of them are of real concern to pets and people. Unfortunately, some of those latter are common in the UAE. And they are found everywhere, all year round.

 

 

 

 

How dangerous are ticks?

Tick bites can be painful and irritating, but the real concern with ticks is the number of serious diseases they can transmit as mentioned above. These diseases can cause significant illness and even death in pets.

The most common tick-borne disease encountered are Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis. Both are bacteria infecting the white blood cells and/or platelets.

Both diseases can go unnoticed for few weeks. If the pet is unable to fight the infection during this time, symptoms will start to appear. Pets can display a variety of symptoms, including fever, lethargy, poor appetite, loss of weight, abnormal bleeding from various places (nose bleeds are the most common), abnormal bruising, gastric disturbance, eye inflammation, neurological signs, lameness and/or symptoms of kidney disease.

Your veterinarian will start by taking a full history of your pet’s health and performing a physical examination. Pets who have a history of tick exposure, live in an endemic area such as in the UAE, and have the appropriate signs are all considered at risk. An examination of the blood is the first step to evaluate the blood cells and platelets.

While the organism may occasionally be identifiable under the microscope, more accurate tests are performed in the laboratory: ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) performed at the clinic in just 10-15 minutes or IFA (indirect fluorescent antibody) and PCR (polymerase chain reaction), both performed in advances veterinary laboratories.

Ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis can be treated with Doxycycline for at least 21 days. If your pet is treated properly, there are good chances of complete recovery.However, in more severe cases — such as if the pet is anemic or has kidney disease — additional treatments like intravenous fluids and blood transfusions may also be necessary. In those cases, prognosis in the short term can be reserved and the pets can suffer from life-long medical issues such as kidney disease.Those diseases can be very serious, and pets that have been infected with Ehrlichiosis once may develop it again.

 

How can I protect my pet from ticks?

It’s critical to protect your pets from any tick bites. Many types of veterinary approved flea and tick prevention treatment are currently available in the UAE veterinary clinics.: tablets lasting three months, collars lasting up to six months, spot-on to apply on the skin, spray or shampoos. Be careful, some of those products are contra-indicated in cats. Your vet can suggest the best one for your dog, assessing its overall health and lifestyle.

Effipro® Frontline® (Spot-on and Spray)FipronilMonthlyCats and Dogs
Advantix® (Spot-On)Imidacloprid and PermethrinMonthlyDogs only
Scalibor® (collar)DeltamethrinEvery 6 monthsDogs only
Bravecto® (tablets)FluralanerEvery 3 monthsDogs only