Risk of dogs carrying ticks is growing

Thu, 24 Mar 2011

A breed of bloodsucking tick, which is normally found in continental Europe has been discovered in Britain for the first time, putting animals and humans here at increased risk of disease.

According to researchers at the University of Bristol, the number of dogs infested with all species of the parasite is far higher than had previously been thought.

The Dermacentor reticulates tick was discovered in south-east England and west Wales in a study of dog infestations and scientists warn that it may have brought new strains of disease with it. The ticks are thought to have arrived here because of climate change .

Professor Richard Wall, head of the veterinary parasitology group at the university, which carried out the research, said: "The results suggest that the risk of infestation is far higher in dogs than previously thought. This has serious implications for the incidence of tick-borne disease . The study also confirms that a non-native species of tick, which is a major disease vector in Europe, is established in southern England.

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