City is high risk for disease-causing ticks

Ticks can spread disease.
Ticks can spread disease.

Pet owners are being warned to be more ‘tick aware’ after Lancaster and Morecambe was designated as a high risk area for ticks and tick borne diseases.

Ticks are found all over the UK but a recent study done by the University of Bristol called the ‘Big Tick Project’ revealed Lancaster and Morecambe area is a high to medium risk area for ticks.

They like certain local climate conditions so are most common in woodland, heathland, moorland, rough pastures, forests and urban parks.

In our local area the Lake District, the Peaks, The Yorkshire Dales and the Lune Valley are all high risk tick areas.

In addition local wildlife, from deer to hedgehogs, can bring ticks into local parks and even gardens.

James Glass, a vet at Lancaster Veterinary Centre, said: “The biggest risk from ticks (for our pets and for us) is that they can transmit bacteria that cause infections such as Lyme disease and Babesia.”
Professor Richard Wall, who led the Big Tick Project, said: “In the UK, we have relatively low rates of these tick-borne diseases at the moment – in continental Europe they have much higher rates of disease. But as there seems to be a rise in tick numbers, we need to be concerned and be aware of the potential for increasing problems.”

Public Health England, estimate that there are 2,000 to 3,000 new confirmed cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year.

In pets, ticks can be found all over the body but the main sites tend to be the non-hairy and thin-skinned areas such as the face, ears, armpits, groin and feet.

The wound from a tick bite may become infected or develop a reaction to the mouth-parts of the tick – this is especially true if the tick is forcibly removed and the mouth-parts remain embedded in the skin.

Public Health England has produced a short video with some good images of