Protecting dogs from the dangers of ticks can be incredibly difficult. While treating and preventing fleas is a relatively straightforward process, ticks pose a series of threats all their own. Unlike fleas, which present primarily as one species, ticks come in a variety of species, each threatening pets with a unique set of behaviors. And, as opposed to fleas who are predictably sensitive to the isoxazoline class of drugs, ticks may vary in their susceptibility to active ingredients.
Additional tick traits that make them difficult to control:
- Ticks spend the majority of their lives off of the host in the environment
- Reproduction happens primarily on wildlife, making it difficult to control
- They are resistant to adverse environments and conditions
- Ticks are able to adapt to many habitats, expand into new territories and parasitize a variety of hosts
- They have complex life cycles
Even more challenging are the number of diseases ticks can simultaneously carry. Because ticks have multiple life stages that each requires a blood meal from a different host, by the time a tick has reached adulthood, it has already had two blood meals from two different hosts that each could have been carrying a disease. They can then pass those diseases on to a pet.
The double threat of Ixodes scapularis
A good example of this is Ixodes scapularis, a tick commonly infected with both Anaplasma and Lyme disease. A larva can become infected with Lyme after feeding on a squirrel. Once it molts to a nymph, it can become infected with Anaplasma when it feeds on a rabbit. By the time it completes its last molt into an adult, it will be carrying both pathogens.
Protecting pets from co-infected ticks
It’s critical that we consider all possible diseases simultaneously. Many products show efficacy against just one specific disease carried by ticks, but not many have data against two diseases from the same tick in one study.
In a recent study, Seresto showed 100% efficacy against ticks infected with Lyme disease AND Anaplasma. The study involved Ixodes scapularis naturally infected with pathogens and three groups of ten dogs. In Group A were dogs who had been wearing a Seresto collar for one month, Group B had worn the Seresto collar for seven months and Group C was a non-treated control group.
Each dog was infested with 80 disease-carrying ticks. Blood from the dogs was collected on days 17, 31, 45, 65 and 86 to look for Lyme and Anaplasma antibodies. Skin biopsies were also performed on tick attachment sites to look for evidence of disease transmission.
In the groups treated with Seresto (A and B), no ticks attached, so no skin biopsies were needed or performed highlighting its strong repellency and anti-feeding properties. And none of these dogs were infected with either Lyme disease or Anaplasma. In the untreated control group (C), every single dog was infected with BOTH Lyme disease and Anaplasma and skin biopsies were performed. Seresto was proven to be 100% effective in protecting dogs from ticks infected with Lyme disease and Anaplasma both early and late into its 8-month treatment period.
Seeing the whole picture
While co-infected ticks pose a serious threat, with the right prevention, you can feel confident that pets are protected from ticks that pose this danger. This study not only showed the high tick efficacy of Seresto but highlighted its strong repellency properties as no ticks were found attached and feeding to any Seresto treated dogs. Carrying Seresto, in addition to orals and topicals, can give you another effective tool in the fight against ticks and allows you meet more pet owner needs.
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