May be a close-up of nature
Photo: Moredun

Depending on our geographical area and where we keep our pigs, ticks rarely pose a threat to our pigs. However, we should not get complacent as pigs do and can get ticks depending on the terrain they live. Cases of tick-borne diseases this summer have been reported up and down the country, I know that my veterinary practice has seen quite a few cases and where I live, in the South West, our atmospheric pressure is damp and ticks just love to thrive. Having said this, ticks love all sorts of environments and whilst many of us will be treating our sheep and cattle we must also run over our pigs with a keen eye.

Ticks are becoming more common across large parts of England, especially in woodlands, on heathland and moorland and grassland. Numbers are increasing and it is due to the increasing numbers of deer. There are 20 species of ticks in the UK the majority feed on bats, birds, badgers and foxes. The common tick Ixodes ricinus feeds on all animals, mammals, birds, reptiles, humans and particularly dogs. The tick is active all year, but numbers start to increase from late March, peaking in late spring and summer and will remain active until October.

Do pigs get ticks?

Yes, they can and they do. They are not fussy and will live anywhere and everywhere. Fortunately it is not common to find ticks on our pigs as the skin is difficult to penetrate for them to gorge. Places where ticks can be found is on the soft skin of our pigs, the ears, vulva, under arms, testicles, sheath, tummy and eye lids. If you find them, as with all animals, do not pull off as this will leave the head behind. You can use a tick hook which you slide the tick between a hook, then twist and pull, you can use tweezers using the same method and depending where it is you can use a spray – Barrier Parasite Repel. Please seek veterinary advice.

Ticks cause infection and diseases to pigs it has been reported there are two types of ticks the hard tick and soft ticks. Soft ticks love hot and dry environments and are mostly found in the western parts of USA. Hard ticks, are mostly found in the UK and Ireland and are particularly common in the New Forest, Exmoor, the South Downs, Thetford Forest, the Lake District, North Yorkshire Moors and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. So, when out with your pigs give them a once over to give you and your pigs peace of mind.

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