Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases to humans as well as cats and dogs. Here, our Lexington vets explain what you can do to protect your pet, and your family, from these external parasites and how to remove them.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that rely on hosts for transportation and food. Ticks feed on the blood of their hosts. Humans and animals can be victims of ticks.
Wild animals are commonly responsible for bringing ticks into backyards where pets can easily pick them up and then bring them into the house.
Are Ticks Dangerous?
Ticks are dangerous to people and pets not because they take the blood of the host but, because they spread a number of serious diseases. The tick's saliva can contain various illnesses which can be transmitted to people and pets, sometimes leading to conditions such as alpha-gal allergy or Lyme disease.
How to Check My Pet For Ticks?
It's a good idea to check your pet for ticks whenever your pet has been walking through fields of long grass or wooded areas.
Ticks are relatively easy to spot due to their fairly large size. Examine deep in your pet's fur around the neck, between the toes, inside the ears, and between the legs.
How do I Prevent Ticks?
There are a variety of methods available to help prevent and treat ticks on small pets and dogs. Options include oral medications, spot treatments, tick collars, and even bathing your pet with a shampoo that contains medicated ingredients that kill ticks on contact.
It may also help to keep your lawn well-trimmed to prevent ticks from making your backyard their home.
How Do I Remove Ticks?
Removing ticks is not a fun process but it is necessary.
The first step is to assess where the tick is located. If it is in your pets ears or other delicate areas you are advised to seek professional help from your vet.
Next get your equipment. For this you will need a pair of gloves, a small container to hold the tick after it is remove, a tick removal tool (if you don't have one a pair of needle-nose tweezers will work) and an antiseptic wipe.
Immobilize your pet. Take your tick removal tool and gently try to remove the tick in a one piece. If the tick break apart and there is enough to grab onto you can try to remove the head. If the piece is too deeply embedded wait for it come out naturally.
Wash off the area with water and antiseptic wipes.
Take a photo of the tick so you can show it to the vet if there are signs of illness later.
Dispose of tick. Don't set it free into the wild.
Monitor your pet for the next couple of day for unusual behavior and lookout for yellowing of the ear or eyes. If they appear unwell take them to the vet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.