Protection against ticks is not a question of the season

Even if ticks become particularly active with rising temperatures, dog and cat owners have to rethink. “Exotic” tick species feel increasingly at home in our native regions. A tick infestation in the warmer winter months cannot be ruled out, so dogs and cats must be constantly repelled against ticks.

Tortoiseshell ticks are still among the most common ticks in Central Europe. Of the more than 20 species occurring in Germany, the wood beetle (Ixodes ricinus) really important. It is known to carry various pathogens with it. The best-known diseases are Lyme disease and anaplasmosis. It is also considered to be the carrier of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). A single sting is often sufficient to transmit the pathogen to the host animal or human.

New diseases due to climate change

According to a study by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, other tick species have also arrived in Germany as a result of global warming and with these new diseases. The meadow or lowland forest tick (Dermacentor reticulatus), which belongs to the colored ticks, is no longer an exotic species and is now widespread throughout Germany. Some specimens of this tick species have even made it to the harsh North Sea climate on the island of Sylt. They are still active at 4 degrees Celsius and cannot even be deterred by nightly ground frost. Ticks are carriers of canine babesiosis. However, human blood is seldom on the menu of colored ticks.

In addition, there have been individual finds of the brown dog tick in Germany, which originally came from Africa, but are now found worldwide in regions between 50° north and 11° south latitude, home is. It can last a long time in apartments and transmit numerous diseases to the dog, such as babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis or Anaplasmosis. Many of these diseases can have serious consequences for the health of the affected dog: Then all the stops of the veterinary art have to be pulled out, dogs bland diet from naturopaths is not enough. Despite its name, the brown dog tick can affect not only dogs, but also cats and humans.

Crimean-Congo fever

Findings of the giant tick Hyalomma, which came to us in the plumage of migratory birds, also caused a stir. Like wood ticks, hyalomma belongs to the group of ticks and also affects larger wild and domestic animals such as cattle or horses. Hyaloma ticks are carriers of various diseases, including Crimean-Congo fever in humans. The example of Turkey shows that introductions can develop very dynamically. Since the first registered cases in year 561 up to year 565 more than 10.000 Cases of Crimean-Congo fever with a mortality rate of almost 5 percent registered. Close contact with livestock was the main risk factor.

Vector-borne infections are thus becoming more important as climatic conditions change. Infectious pathogens can spread in previously non-endemic countries under the right conditions and establish new pathogen reservoirs.

The findings make it clear that dog and cat owners need to rethink tick protection. The parasites lurk for a blood meal not only in the “traditionally” tick-active seasons of autumn and spring, but all year round. Therefore, the protection against ticks should be extended to the whole year. But there is still a need for information. A forsa survey has shown that every third dog is not adequately protected against ticks. And this, although nine out of ten owners know that diseases can be transmitted with a tick bite.


Crime scene nature: risk of ticks in dogs and cats

Protect pets from ticks

Giant tick Hyalomma immigrated to Germany?

Photo: © Denise/ / Source: Industry Association for Pet Supplies

Scroll to Top