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The current lockdown here in Cyprus means we can’t go outside our premises just for the hell of it, except to walk our dog. For any other purpose we need to send a text message to a special number giving a reason why we want to go out, our passport details and our postal code. Only if we get a text message back giving approval can we go outside our property. We then have to carry our passport with us so that if he police stop us they can check we are allowed out. If not, it’s an on the spot fine. Persistent abuse will result in bigger fines and if that doesn’t work it’s jail time.
All responsible citizens and those with permission to live here or any visitors trapped here seem to be obliging.
That’s all well and good, but to take our dog for a walk we would usually put her in the car and take her to the beach, but we can’t do that because the beach in question is nearly an hours drive away, at our holiday let apartment near Paphos… and that’s another Coronavirus story for another day. So we have to be very careful. Not because the police may stop us, but because the grass on the common ground close by hasn’t been cut lately by the local authorities. And why would that matter? Because there are literally time bombs sat on most stalks of grass waiting for a poor, unsuspecting dog or cat to walk past. The time bomb in question is the common tick.
These ticks are so nasty and horrible it’s hard to see any use for them in nature. They drop off the grass leaf onto your dog. Burrow straight down, through the hair, to the skin and then stab your poor pet and secrete a solution that makes the animal’s blood flow more easily. The blood is then sucked up. The tick’s body expands to a huge size compared to its head and this gorging of blood feeds it and consequently allows it to lay multiple eggs… in your house, somewhere dark and unseen. When the hundreds of young hatch, the nasty process starts all over again and your animals will become even more infected and the ticks can even attach themselves to humans sometimes. If you’re not careful, you can end up with an infestation of the nasty critters. The tick, about the size of a pen tip, can transmit Lyme disease to humans. Caught early in humans Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. If untreated then the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. Patients can suffer with severe headaches, neck aches, facial palsy, arthritis and accompanying severe joint pain as well as heart palpitations. The tick is so small most people don’t know they have been bitten by it
We would, under normal circumstances, give our dog a special pill, in her food, which keeps her protected over a year. But because our vet is in Larnaca, we can’t travel that far due to the lockdown. So we have to go to a local vet today, who is only a small practice and probably doesn’t keep what we normal buy in stock.
Of course, over the last few days we have found the odd dead swollen tick on the floor. Three have died so far, and that’s because the drug we gave Holly, our English Springer Spaniel, seems to still be working even though her last dose was a year ago, but it’s not working immediately. So the tick could, in theory, still be alive long enough to lay its eggs. So, here’s a hidden consequence of the human Coronavirus, the potential to be infested with ticks. Of course we are concerned about Holly’s health, but our own health is also at risk. If we end up having to make a visit to the doctor or even hospital, we all know what potentially lay in wait for us there and that’s going to be a killer if we’re not careful.
We watch, we check Holly’s body daily, and we hope we don’t get an infestation until we can get our hands on the normal medicine we use. That’s our little time-bomb.
Just another worry for another day.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2020