Warning over long grass after dog tick death

Connie the collie dog, left, and her puppy Jack. Healthy Connie died suddenly after being bitten by a tick in the long grass on Highfield Road
Connie the collie dog, left, and her puppy Jack. Healthy Connie died suddenly after being bitten by a tick in the long grass on Highfield Road
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A devastated dog owner has warned fellow animal lovers to be careful when walking their pets along a popular path after her beloved collie died of blood poisoning after being bitten by a tick.

Janet Duckworth’s healthy four-year-old dog Connie died suddenly after being bitten while on her daily walk through the long grass on Highfield Road, Blackpool, in October.

Mrs Duckworth, 52, said: “We found her lying dead in her bed. It was such a horrendous shock because she was so fit and healthy.”

Mrs Duckworth and her tiler husband David, 47, first noticed the tick embedded in their dog’s skin on October 13.

But despite removing the parasite, Connie died several days later from tick bite paralysis, which occurs when a female tick releases a potent toxin into the bloodstream of its victim, causing vomiting, high blood pressure, unsteadiness, and in some cases death.

Ticks commonly lurk in long grass, and can crawl into a dog’s coat as it brushes past.

Blackpool Council earlier this year announced that, as a result of government cuts, it would only continue to cut grass in high profile areas such as the Prom and Stanley Park – leaving grass verges and parks around the resort to become overgrown.

Now Mrs Duckworth, who lives on Moss Road, is hoping to warn other dog owners of the risks of walking their pets in the Highfield Road area where grass is uncut.

The mum-of-five said: “As soon as we pulled out the tick she seemed to perk right up.

“Then she started staggering around and we put it down to the tick medicine we had given her, because one of the side effects was drowsiness. Then the next day she started being sick.

“We took her out for a walk on the night and she was running around like a madman – we thought she had really perked up.

“We went out for a meal at around 6.15pm, and when we got back that’s when we found her. I couldn’t believe it.

“There’s a lot of dog walkers in that Highfield Road area and their dogs love to run through the grass.

“We just want people to be aware of the risks when walking their dogs in that area.”