May 27th, 2019
Spring is in the air! The flowers are finally popping out full of colour. Trees are budding and ticks are emerging looking for their next meal.
What is a tick? Other than the fact that they are a creepy eight-legged cousin of a spider, they can carry different diseases that can affect both you and your pet. These diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Babesiosis.
There are over 900 species of ticks (there are even a few ticks located in the Tundra!). The main ticks that we are most likely to see in practice are the American dog tick, Black legged (deer) tick, the Brown dog tick and the Lonestar tick.
You could say that ticks are a lazy species. They will crawl up a long blade of grass and wait for an animal or human to pass by so they can latch on and crawl up. After searching for the perfect spot to get their blood meal, the tick will latch on to bite and feed. This is when pathogens from the tick can be transmitted to the host. This is how people and pets become infected with the diseases mentioned above.
If you find a tick on yourself or your pet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the following steps to remove a tick safely.
How to remove a tick
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
Tick twisters can also be purchased to make for easier removal of the tick.
During this season remember to;
Examine your dog for areas that appear red or irritated.
Check for ticks by rubbing your hand over your dog, paying attention to the groin area, front legs and your dog’s head.
Most importantly? Head over to the clinic for some tick prevention!