Ticks are important ectoparasites of dogs and cats. Infestations can result in itching and localised dermatitis. In addition, ticks can act as vector of a range of viral, bacterial and protozoal pathogens. This paper reports the results of a nationwide survey of ticks infesting dogs and cats in Ireland. Seventy veterinary practices submitted a total of 120 ticks collected from 56 dogs and 16 cats. Ixodes ricinus was the most abundant species on dogs while Ixodes hexagonus was the most abundant species on cats. The remainder were identified as Ixodes canisuga and a single Rhipicephalus sanguineus specimen. The garden was most frequently associated with tick exposure in both dogs and cats. Sporting dog breeds (n = 17; 31%) were more likely to be infested with ticks than any other breed. Nearly all (n = 56; 95%) veterinarians indicated that ticks are a concern to their clients when they are found on their pets. Pet owners used a variety of products to control ectoparasites on their animals but a significant number (n = 18, 31%) indicated that they felt that the products are less effective highlighting the need for further investigations. Field sampling indicated that ticks are present at a low level in much of the greater Dublin area.
Keywords: Ireland; companion animals; owner attitudes; ticks.