Ticks thriving since Ivan

Your beautiful furry dog may have become the home of hundreds of parasites since Hurricane Ivan.

Ticks are rampant in Grand Cayman at the moment.

‘Everyone is complaining about them,’ said Ms Dione Scotland-Rivero, Veterinary Technician at Island Veterinary Services off Walkers Road. Some dogs have even had to be treated for anaemia the parasites have sucked so much blood out of them.

The dry conditions on Grand Cayman since Hurricane Ivan have provided ticks with good conditions in which to live and they are thriving, said Mr. Steve Smith, owner of Truly Nolen Pest Control.

Ticks are parasites that suck the blood of dogs, cats, horses, goats or cattle. Adult females of some species lay about 100 eggs at a time. Others lay 3,000 to 6,000 eggs per batch. Six-legged larvae hatch from the eggs. The brown tick commonly found on Grand Cayman grows into a big bulging grey parasite filled with blood.

Some pet owners are even experiencing tick infestations in their homes. and Truly Nolen is getting more calls every day from people with this type of problem.

Dealing with a parasite infestation of this type can be problematic as it involves treating the areas the animal frequents along with the animal.

‘The pet needs to be treated with a chemical dip,’ commented Mr. Smith.

‘The inside of the house also needs to be treated, especially the carpets, and the yard needs to be sprayed with chemicals.’

Depending on the severity of the infestation and the area involved, it can take more than one treatment by a pest control company to solve the problem. But afterwards, if the pet gets re-infested it is important to have it re-dipped, especially if the animal roams off your property.

According to Mr. Smith, the ticks can lay eggs in the early stages of their development and these consist of very fine brown looking dirt. The eggs can be layed anywhere: in the animal, or even in your carpet.

Island Vet recommends use of a monthly topical application product such as Frontline or K9 Advantix to try to control the parasites. This, used in conjunction with a good flea or tick shampoo is recommended. Animal dips are also available from Island Vet if other solutions are not working.

‘We know it’s difficult, but we recommend to our clients that they keep up the treatments to their pet and if they have any questions to call us,’ said Ms. Scotland-Rivero.

Some ticks are known to carry illnesses, such as Lyme Disease which can be transmitted to humans, but it is not believed that these types of ticks are present in the Cayman Islands.

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