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How to Remove a Tick

A useful skill that could save your pet’s life

DR SAROJ YADAV is a B.V.Sc., PGT, North American Veterinary licensed examination qualified, Animal Hospital and Research Center koteshwor, sarojyadav641@hotmail.com

What is TICK?

A tick is an oval shaped external parasite that can be commonly seen on your pet’s coat. You can easily identify it by its feature of a dark brown or black colour pin-head sized head with its body few to hundred times larger, depending on how engorged the tick is with blood. You can find it either in the body of pets, particularly in the ear and hairy areas, or in the grass, bushes and hiding in the different corners of the house or stacked wood. They suck your pet’s blood, make them anaemic and thin.

Why should you remove?

Many pet owners who find occasional ticks on their pet’s skin take it lightly, but in fact ticks act as a source of a variety of diseases such as anaplasmosis, tularemia that affect both pets and owners.
They also act as a medium for tick-borne diseases in humans. Pets, especially dogs, are highly susceptible to ticks, and vaccines cannot prevent tick-borne diseases. In addition, tick bite in pets maybe hard to detect immediately. Therefore, if the tick population is high in your home or area, it is important to treat your pet with a tick-preventive product, treat your surroundings (especially, if there is lawn or grass) along with tick removal as needed. Tick removal should be done systematically and properly, otherwise it could be fatal for your pet. In case of chronic tick infestation, it may cause paralysis in your pet.

How to remove ticks

paws-n-claws-tick-contentFirst of all, arrange these materials: tweezers, alcohol (isopropyl), antibacterial soap or diluted poividine iodine/betadine, and gauze. Then,

  • Fill half of the wide opened bottle with alcohol.
  • Using tweezers, grasp the head of the tick and pull straight out (do not twist).
  • Place the extracted tick in alcohol bottle; tighten the mouth of the bottle, and once ticks are dead, throw in the trash.
  • Although aftercare is usually not needed, you can clean the area of pets with gauze and antibacterial soap or diluted skin disinfectant.
  • Occasionally, after tick removal, the skin may swell slightly, giving the impression of presence of tick. Actually, it is due to reaction of tick’s saliva on pet’s skin that may persist for several weeks. In such case, allow the swelling to decrease on its own.

Things to remember

  • It is always wise to wear a glove during tick removal, and do not forget to wash your hands properly.
  • During removal or at any time, always avoid squeezing the tick or its body. If tick is squeezed, tick’s intestinal content may inject into the pet that may increase the possibility of disease transmission.
  • What you see at first glance is the tick’s body, but closer inspection is needed to find out the head of the tick.
  • Importantly, you must take extra care and be sure to remove the tick’s head, which is embedded in skin, along with body. Sometimes, if the tick is deeply embedded, tick’s head may get left behind inside the skin while pulling out the tick.