How to successfully remove a tick
As you are scratching Fido’s neck, or while passing your fingers behind his ears, you come across a firm lump buried in his skin, to finally realise it is…an insect? Gross!! From spring to fall, there are more than porcupines that you can come across in the woods. Ticks, generally more active during the spring and fall seasons, roam in the bushes and high grasses. They take advantage of your cat or dog passing in the area to fall on them and then comfortably find the ideal place to feed off of them. Once you have found a tick, what should you do? The first thing to do is… not to panic! The tick must be removed, but wait! It is important to do it the right way, to remove the insect entirely and safely. When in doubt, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian.
Here is a simple guide to help you through the removal of the tick:
1. Protect yourself! Some ticks, not all, can be carriers of diseases transmittable to humans. Although the risk of catching a disease from the tick is very small at the stage of the removal from your pet, let’s not take any chances and wear gloves.
2. Slowly remove the tick. With tweezers, or the appropriate lever (available in most veterinary clinics), the tick must be grabbed as close as possible to the skin. A constant yet soft traction or a rotation is applied on the tick until it comes out of the skin. It is very important not to try and yank it out the skin. It could then leave pieces of its head within your pet’s skin. This could cause a delay in the healing process or a local skin infection.
3. Clean the area. Clean the area where the tick was with a soft, unperfumed soap.
4. Bring the tick to your veterinarian for analysis. As mentioned earlier, certain ticks can be carriers of diseases (Lyme’s disease, among others). It is important to understand however, that every tick is not necessarily a carrier of the disease, and the ones that are will not necessarily transmit it. On top of that, some animal that come in contact with the disease don’t even develop the symptoms. If you are worried or confused, many clinics can identify the tick to determine if it is a specie known to be a carrier of Lyme’s disease, and maybe even have it analysed to determine if it is in fact a carrier or not. As long as you are there, might as well ask about products against ticks and Lyme’s vaccination.
A tick on your animal does not necessarily mean Lyme’s disease. This being said, it is a dangerous disease and must not be taken lightly. It is important to know the symptoms associated with the disease to recognise it as soon as possible (see article on the subject).