Ticks are an unfortunate, but common problem affecting both wild and domestic animals in the U.S. Some varieties will even affect humans. Most pet owners will have to remove at least one of these small, wingless parasites from their furbaby at some point during their lifetime.
Although they look fairly innocent, ticks can have a serious effect on the health of your pet. This is because they are capable of carrying infectious diseases from host to host. If the tick that has decided to feast on your pet has previously consumed the blood of a creature with Lyme disease, Tularemia, Anaplasmosis or another tick-borne disease, chances are your furbaby is in line to contract the disease too – that is unless you remove the tick very quickly.
Why it is important to remove a tick as soon as possible
Many people believe that the moment an infected tick bites their pet, their animal will become infected too. This is not strictly accurate. Most ticks feed for between 4 and 24 hours, and it can take some or all of this time for the microorganisms that cause the tick-borne illness to transfer into your pet. Therefore, the quicker you spot and remove a tick, the better than chance of your pet avoiding infectious disease.
Items you need to safely remove a tick from your pet
In order for you to remove a tick safely and without the risk of cross-contamination, there are a few items that you will need. Things you will need include:
- Latex or rubber gloves to protect your hands from any blood.
- A ‘tick twister’ or a pair of tweezers.
- A sealable jar. Put approx. 200ml of cheap alcohol inside. This will be used to kill the tick once it has been removed.
- Antiseptic or antiseptic wipes. These will be used to clean the wound on your pet after the tick has been removed.
How to remove a tick from your pet (step-by-step)
1. Put your gloves on, ensuring there aren’t any tears or holes in them.
2. Get your pet into a position so you can access the tick.
3. Using your tweezers or tick twister, grab the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible. Ideally this should be where the mouth-parts meet the skin.
4. Slowly pull the tick away from her body, trying to remove it completely intact. Do not twist the tick or yank it as this will almost certainly cause the mouth parts to remain buried in your pet’s skin.
5. Place the removed tick into the jar of alcohol and seal it. The alcohol should kill the tick.
6. Clean the wound on your pet’s skin using antiseptic solution or wipes.
Should the mouth parts of the tick remain in your pet’s skin, they should fall out of their own accord within a couple of days. If this doesn’t happen, speak to our vet at Block House Creek Animal Hospital who will arrange to remove them. Leaving them too long could put your pet at risk of an infection.
Some pet owners choose to keep the tick and take it to their veterinarian so that the type of tick can be identified, and whether or not it is infectious. This could help with the diagnosis process should the affected animal show signs of a tick-borne disease.
- Try and burn the tick off. You could seriously injure your pet.
- Use chemicals to try and kill the tick. This could make it regurgitate infected blood into your pet. The chemicals you use could also harm your pet.
- Try and remove a tick without wearing gloves. You could get infected blood onto your skin.
For further information and advice on tick removal, please contact our veterinarians in Cedar Park, TX at Block House Creek Animal Hospital and make an appointment with our professional veterinarian team.