Tiny orphaned kitten covered in more than 50 ticks
One of our officers spent more than two hours painstakingly picking more than 50 ticks off of a tiny kitten who'd been found hiding under a tree stump in South Yorkshire.
We were called when the tiny five-week-old kitten was found in the garden of a property off Doncaster Road, in Tickhill, on Saturday 21 November.
Our inspector Sara Jordan went to collect her, she said:
"The poor little kitten had been found in the remains of a tree that had been felled by the council. The caller had discovered her that morning but neighbours said they'd heard her meowing and crying all night. I suspect she's been born as a stray and that all of the commotion around the tree on Friday scared away her mum."
She was absolutely covered in ticks. I've never seen a kitten so infested with them. They were clustered around her eyes, her mouth, around her ears and also between her toes; she even had one on her bottom.
Sara took the little black and white kitten home with her for a de-ticking session. She added:
"I treated her with flea and tick spray and then sat for a good two hours picking the ticks off of her. They've been feeding off her blood and I was concerned about her becoming anaemic because she's already quite underweight so I wanted to get them off her as quickly as possible. I must have removed around 50 already - and I'm still finding them!"
Sara is now fostering the kitten - nicknamed Ticky - and will monitor her and build up her weight and strength.
"My parents have already fallen for her so once she's old enough it looks like she'll be joining the family permanently!"
Ticks can lead to diseases
Ticks are small parasites that suck blood from animals. They have eight legs and an egg-shaped body which becomes larger as it fills with blood. They climb or drop onto an animal's coat when they brush past whatever they're sitting on, like long grass or undergrowth. Ticks are common in woodland and grassland and, although active throughout the year, are most common between spring and autumn.
Ticks bites can carry diseases so it's important to remove them as soon as possible. A serious bacterial infection called Lyme disease is passed on by ticks. Dogs, cats and humans can all get it - although it's uncommon in cats. Symptoms can include depression, loss of appetite, fever, lameness, lethargy, swollen joints and lymph nodes. Lyme disease can be treated by antibiotics if caught early enough so anyone concerned about their pet should speak to a vet.
To stop ticks biting your pet you can use a treatment - such as a spot-on treatment or tablet - that repels them or kills them. Speak to your vet for the best treatment and never use dog treatments on cats or vice versa.