Springers and ticks
As the spring and summer months come in, Springers and ticks become a gruesome twosome. You will often find ticks when stroking or grooming your Spaniel, in fact during the warmer months I would advise that you search for ticks a few hours after a walk, to eliminate the problem straight away.
If your Springer Spaniel has picked up a tick, it will normally be located on their face, their forehead or their chest area - the direction that Spaniels travel through vegetation.
What are ticks?
Ticks are small blood sucking mites that are related to spiders. They are often found in long grass, where they wait to attach to a host, in this case your Springer Spaniel.
Here is a picture of a tick on the left, before it's had its lunch, next an engorged one, to help you spot them on your Springer.
Springers and ticks can both be carriers of Lyme Disease. Ticks tend to pass this disease on to their hosts. Although they are fonder of warmer temperatures, hence they seem to be more active from April to November in the Northern Hemisphere, this seems to be changing with the recent mild winters.
Here is what they look like when they are attached to their host. In this case a human, but imagine more fur and it is your Springer Spaniel.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a tick borne disease that can appear a few months after your dog has been infected. The symtoms include pronounced fever, appetite loss, anaemia, lethargy and stiffness in the legs. The disease can easily be treated with a course of anti-biotics, however if left untreated it can cause canine arthritis, kidney and even heart failure. So, if in doubt, contact your vet.
How to remove a Tick from your Springer Spaniel
So, you are curled up on the sofa with your Springers and ticks make their appearance. You will notice this because, as you are stroking their coat, you feel that dreaded bump - the tick!!!
You can see from this picture, George gets ticks all the time as he loves snuffling in the long grass. So what to do?
Should you find one, you can remove it yourself without the need to take you dog to the vet. Do not just pull the tick off your spaniel, as the head will remain inside your Springer. However the aim of removing these little blood suckers yourself is to remove all parts of the tick, including the embedded head.
Invest in a tick removal tool that wil grip the head of the tick. I like using these. I have a couple tucked away in the house in case of the dreaded bump. However you can also use pointed tweezers at a horizontal angle to the base of the tick as shown in the picture below
Grip the base of the tick and turn Anti-clockwise until the tick comes free. I then flush the tick down the toilet so they don't get back on my dog - they still make me shiver though....yucky.
If you are too squeemish to remove them yourself, there are a variety of topical products that you can get from your vet. You put these on your Springer's coat and they should deal with the ticks for you. You just them have to pick them up once they have fallen off.
So separating Springers and ticks can be very simple indeed.
For more details on other tick removal options try this tick removal section in the dog health handbook.
What about other methods you may hear of?
There are some ideas about burning ticks off - don't. You will probably burn your dog and the tick will die in your dog - not nice.
Vaseline and alcohol have also ben recommended before. The idea is to smother the tick and it will die. I found that these didn't work either, you just have to remove the tick yourself.
You can see me removing a tick from George here. I do it myself all the time, and I have got used to the yuck factor. Spaniels and ticks will continue to coexist so I would advise you to firm up your stomach and remove them yourself.
Ask A Veterinarian
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Other Pages of InterestImmunisation Guide
A Guide to Congenital Eye Problems
A Guide to Springer Rage Syndrome
Springer Spaniel Diet
Dog Food Guide
Foods to Avoid
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