Ticks – What are they? How do you remove them?

2 Jul

It’s tick season! Check out these tips on how to stay tick-free during the Summer heat.

1. What are ticks?

– Parasites that feed on the blood of animals (that would be us, and our pets!)

– They tend to be the most active during late spring and summer

– Live in tall brush or grass

– Can carry diseases such as: Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Babesia

2. How do I remove a tick?

1. Prepare its death bed:

– Throwing it away or flushing it down the toilet will not kill it

– Prepare: A screw-top jar,  rubbing alcohol, tweezers, latex/rubber gloves

2. Don’t Bare-Hand It:

– Use latex or rubber gloves to avoid contact

3. Get a helping-hand

– To help hold down the animal while you are removing the tick

4. The Removal:

– Disinfect surrounding area, and equipment with rubbing alcohol

– Grab the tick as close to the animal’s skin as possible with the tweezers

– Pull the tick straight upwards with an even pressure

– Place the tick in the jar to later bring to the vet

– Do not twist, jerk, squeeze or crush the tick – it may contain infectious organisms

5. Getting the remainders:

– If the area is not red or inflamed, simply disinfect it with rubbing alcohol

– If it is inflamed, put a warm compress on the area to expel the remaining pieces

– Do not go after remainders in the skin with tweezers!

6. Clean up and Keep Watch:

– Disinfect area, hands, and tweezers

– Bring your pet and the jar with the tick to the vet! Visit your veterinarian immediately even if the animal seems to be acting normal, or if the bite area is not inflamed or red.

Enjoy your summer! Please follow this blog for updates on how to keep your pet healthy, happy, and safe.


5 Responses to “Ticks – What are they? How do you remove them?”

  1. Jeannie Wilson July 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    Oh no! I wish I had read this blog just a few days ago! Our Boston Terrier (Jasper) had a tick on him Thursday night; Liam removed the tick with his BARE HANDS and a tweezer. To make matters worse, Jasper woke the next day unable to use his back legs. (We thought it was a spinal problem.) When Jasper woke Saturday paralyzed, with his front paw also effected, we rushed him to the East Hampton Emergency Vet Clinic. Guess what? He had LYME’S DISEASE, infected by a tick Liam had pulled off him from travails out East over Spring Break! Just goes to show how badly Lyme Disease effects the nervous system. Do you know anything more about this disease? Is it possible for Liam to get it since he did not use the proper infection control procedures you described in your blog? Thank you Catherine; I’m anxious to hear your response!

    PS – How do I get started teaching myself and Liam how to set up such a great blog? This is super, Catherine! x0

  2. Jeannie Wilson July 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    I forgot to mention…. While I was mentally preparing myself for a very expensive spinal surgery, the vet said “Since Lyme’s effects the joints, and his front paw was fine just yesterday, let’s give him the bloodwork test to confirm whether Lyme’s”. After bloodwork confirmed, Jasper received a steroid shot to reduce the swelling and a twice/ day antibiotic for 14 days. By the next day, Jasper was like Lazarus — up and walking around as if nothing had happened! 🙂

  3. animalchamps July 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Oh no Jasper! I hope he is feeling better. Lyme Disease is caused by deer ticks, and unfortunately, it is fairly common in the North East. An infected tick can transmit the spirochete (the bacteria) to both the humans and animals that it bites. As you mentioned with Jasper, this disease can affect our joints, nervous system and other organ systems if it is not treated. If it is diagnosed early, then Lyme Disease is almost always cured. In very rare instances, the disease can cause permanent bodily damage. Scientists also say that the tick cannot begin transmitting the bacterium until is is attached to an animal for about 36 to 48 hours.
    If the tick popped in any way, or any fluids were excreted, Liam may have been in contact with the bacterium in the infected tick. I wouldn’t be too worried, but keep an eye on him to see if he has any symptoms such as: a rash, flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, headache, muscle aches. It wouldn’t hurt to check with his doctor just to be on the safe side. You can never be too safe. 🙂
    I am using WordPress.com to create this blog. It’s free, and it’s a great way to start up a site. Thank you for all the support!

  4. flower56 July 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    This is really great info and an excellent reminder, especially after the warm winter. Thanks AnimalChamps.

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