Vet Nurses and Tick-borne Disease Vigilance in the Travelling and Imported Pet

09:30 - 17:15

Increased importation of pets in the face of expanding global parasite distributions is increasing the risk of pets infected with exotic parasites entering the UK. Exotic ticks and tick-borne pathogens are of particular importance, both to the individual patient but also in terms of potential establishment in the UK. Recent years have seen endemic foci of Babesia canis and tick-borne encephalitis virus establish in Essex and the Thetford Forest respectively. Rhipichehalus sanguineus ticks present on imported pets can establish infestations in centrally heated homes, potentially exposing people to zoonotic pathogens such as Rickettsia conorii (the cause of Mediterranean spotted fever). Some pathogens such as Ehrliciha canis have long incubation periods with the potential for life threatening chronic disease to develop in carrier dogs.  Rapid recognition of clinical signs associated with tick-borne pathogens, effective use of preventative treatments and screening tests in imported dogs are vital. This is both to improve prognostic outcomes for infected dogs and limit parasite spread and zoonotic risk. Nurses play a vital role in routine health checks, post travel clinics, flea and parasite clinics in recognising relevant clinical signs and detecting ticks, while making sure adequate tick preventative strategies are in place. This workshop will discuss the tick and tick-borne pathogens of current concern, relevant clinical signs and the role of blood smears in early parasite detection.   Tick prevention method including tick detection and removal will also be discussed.

Dr Ian Wright, Veterinary Surgeon, The Mount Vet Practice