It’s Summer. It Can Happen. And If It Does, Here is How You Should “Tick Off” Your Pet.
Bolt, Yorkie-Poo guest blogger: Here I am today, in this very public forum discussing a very personal problem. However, it is something you need to know, as this could affect you or the pets you love. You see…over the weekend, I got a tick on my ear! Oh, the horror! No, I am not ashamed and the removal of said infestation was quick and painless, but important nonetheless. As such, I wanted to share with you some step-by-step tick removal instructions I found on the aspca.org web site in the event you are faced with such a situation this summer.
Before you even begin, determine how/where you will dispose of the tick. If you think flushing it down the toilet or throwing it in the trash is going to do the trick, think again. You may want to consider holding on to it for a while for testing by your veterinarian, should your pet become sick from the bite. Best option? Put it in a screw-top jar with some rubbing alcohol in it.
DO NOT attempt to remove the tick with your bare hands!!! Put on latex or rubber gloves so you do not have direct contact with the tick. They carry infective agents that can get into your bloodstream if you have any cuts or open wounds on your skin. They can even get into your body via your eyes, nostrils or mouth.
Enlist some help. Face it. Your pet will squirm before you are finished. Have someone on hand to soothe, distract or hold your pet still as you remove the tick.
To remove the tick, treat the area with rubbing alcohol first. Get a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to its skin as possible and then pull straight upward with a steady, even pressure. Then, place the tick into the jar. Be careful not to twist or jerk the tick. This may cause its mouth or certain body parts to remain embedded in your pet. Also, do not squeeze or crush the tick’s body, as it contains fluids that have infective organism. That is just gross, don’t you think?
Despite your best efforts, however, sometimes the mouthparts may get left behind in your pet’s skin. If you do not see any inflammation or red appearance at the site, the best thing you can do is to disinfect the area and try not to remove the mouthparts. Instead, place a warm compress to the area, which might help the body to expel them. But DO NOT attempt to go at it again with the tweezers.
Time to clean up. Be sure to thoroughly disinfect the bite site and make sure you wash your hands well with soap and water…even though you wore gloves. Be sure to also sterilize your tweezers with the rubbing alcohol or carefully run them over a flame.
Finally, be sure to keep a keen eye on the bite area for a few weeks to make sure there is no infection brewing. If the area is red or inflamed or becomes that way later, please be sure to get your pet to the vet – along with the jarred tick – for complete evaluation by your veterinarian.