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Haddock and Chips (3)

Louise Rodgers RVN

“What did you do today then?”

Haddock the cat lazily stretched out a leg and washed it keeping one eye on Chips, her shaggy canine companion.

“Well!” replied Chips, “We went up into the Pentland Hills and I found some very interesting long grass and bushes that I don’t think Dougie spotted because he walked straight past them.”

“Interesting?” asked Haddock, with a big yawn “Were there lots of mice in them?”

“One or two”, replied Chips dismissively “but the grass smelled great! There were deer and rabbits everywhere last night! Oh, and Simon the Schnauzer had been past a few hours ago.” He gave a happy sigh. “I was in those bushes for ages!”

Dougie’s Dad came in and greeted the pals, jumping a little when he saw Chip’s face.

“Dougie! Where did you go with Chips? I think he’s picked up a tick! Look at that warty thing above his eye!”

“You’re never alone with a tick” whispered Haddock and jumped swiftly out of Chips’ reach.

Dougie’s Dad had a closer look and spotted a few smaller ticks dotted about Chips’ ears. “I’d better phone Abercorn.”

“Chips!” called the vet, and Chips, Dougie and Dad followed her into the consulting room.

“You’re quite right, they’re ticks” said the vet, searching through Chips’ hair to see if there were any more.  “Ticks are attracted by the carbon dioxide that people and animals breathe out then after they’ve fed they drop off again. You can pick them up from anywhere deer or other wildlife has been. They hide in long grass and wait.”

“So why don’t we just leave them to drop off?” asked Dougie

“Because they spread diseases, particularly Lyme disease, which is very dangerous to people; ticks can attach themselves to people too.”

“Well, can I remove them?”

“You can, Dougie, but you should use a special tick twister tool because if you leave any parts of the tick in the skin will become red and infected.” said the vet.

Dad stepped in at that point because he didn’t want another trip to the vet to remove tick mouthparts!

“Wouldn’t you say prevention is better than cure? Is there anything I can give him?”

“Yes, there’s a very good tablet that lasts three months and kills the ticks before they can pass on any disease. You have to be careful with tick spot-on treatments though because some are very toxic to cats. We don’t want to harm Haddock.”

After the vet had deftly twisted the ticks off Chips’ face and everyone was safely home for tea, Dougie turned to his Dad and said “You don’t seem too cross! I was scared I’d get a ticking off!”