How to Get the Tick Out
Where I dwell in northern California, most of the ticks that dogs choose up are these comparatively massive “American dog ticks” (Dermacentor variabilis). They are simple to comb out of a dog’s coat earlier than they’ve latched on and simple to discover as soon as they’ve latched onto the dog’s physique; simply run your arms throughout him and really feel for bumps. In distinction, “deer ticks” (Ixodes scapularis), frequent in different elements of the nation, are manner smaller in each life stage, and a lot harder to detect early.
It’s creepy sufficient that there are billions of those tiny bugs residing in the woods and fields, simply ready to latch onto your dog (otherwise you!) and suck your blood. Bloating themselves with blood, ticks develop in dimension exponentially earlier than falling off, in a position now to reproduce – gross! Add in the truth sure share of ticks may infect your dog (otherwise you!) with a illness that may trigger ache and struggling for the remainder of his life – that’s past creepy. I lack phrases to describe the sheer perniciousness of this insect’s survival technique.
Most of us are conscious that ticks will be contaminated with the spirochetes (microscopic bacterial organisms) that trigger Lyme illness (for extra data, see Lyme Disease in Dogs, WDJ October 2018). But, relying on what a part of the nation you reside in, the ticks round chances are you’ll carry any variety of different spirochetes that trigger different painful ailments, comparable to Rocky Mountain noticed fever, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and extra.
Parasites in Parasites
These spirochetes are parasites of the ticks themselves! Ingeniously, they use ticks to assist them transfer from one host to one other. When a tick sucks blood from an contaminated mammal, fowl, or reptile (frequent hosts embody mice, chipmunks, deer, birds, and lizards) the spirochetes come aboard and arrange store inside the tick; when the contaminated tick bites its subsequent host, the spirochetes slip into the new sufferer by way of the tick’s saliva. The longer the tick feeds, the longer the spirochetes have to infect the tick’s latest host.
Not all ticks carry the spirochetes that trigger illness in mammals. The price of their an infection varies by geographic location, species and life-stage of the tick, and species of spirochete. Most prevalent is the species that causes Lyme illness, Borrelia burgdorferi. In southern New England – the epicenter of Lyme an infection – about 20 to 30 p.c of tick nymphs and 30 to 50 p.c of grownup ticks are contaminated with B. burgdorferi. In different elements of the nation, B. burgdorferi could also be present in fewer than 5 p.c of ticks.
How to Protect Your Dog
To defend your loved ones members from tick-borne illness, then, your job is two-fold: Do all the pieces that you would be able to to preserve ticks off of your dog, and shortly discover and take away any ticks that do handle to climb aboard.
We’ve mentioned oral and topical pesticides which might be fed to or utilized to dogs to kill ticks in different articles (see Prescription Flea and Tick Medication, WDJ September 2017). But it’s clear to anybody who makes use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs or spot-on merchandise, tick collars, important oils, or anything, that it doesn’t matter what you utilize, some ticks will handle to climb aboard and chunk your dog. So let’s speak about the second tactic for shielding your dog from tick-borne illness: Getting the ticks off your dog ASAP.
How to Remove Ticks
I’ve heard numerous strategies for tick removing: Paint a tick with nail polish and it’ll detach from the dog to keep away from being suffocated. Touch a just-extinguished match to the tick’s physique so it pulls itself out. Pull whereas turning the tick clockwise. No – pull whereas turning counter-clockwise! All of those ways are ineffective; don’t do any of them!
It’s truly fairly easy: Just attempt to get grip on the tick, as shut to the dog’s pores and skin as potential, and pull it straight out.
Note that I mentioned easy, not simple. Ticks are tiny. Your dog could also be squirming. If his coat is thick, it could be onerous to isolate the tick in your grip. You could find yourself pulling, or being impeded by, his hair, too. And in case your fingers are thick, you run the danger of squishing the tick between them as you pull, which can lead to squeezing the contents of the tick’s mouth and guts into your dog! Ack! That truly will increase the probability of infecting your dog with any disease-carrying spirochetes that the tick could be internet hosting!
Tweezers can be utilized extra successfully than your fingers, however they, too, pose the danger of compressing the tick and squirting that probably pathogenic-filled tick spit into your dog’s physique.
Instead, use a tick pulling instrument with a V-shaped slot. Slide the instrument between your dog’s pores and skin and the tick’s physique, wedging the tick’s physique into the tightest a part of the instrument’s crevice. When you are feeling that the tick is securely lodged in the slot, pull upward on the instrument and – pop! The tick comes proper out.
Tick Tool Time
There are any variety of tick-pulling instruments on the market. Many of them are mainly tweezers. They could have longer stems or sharper factors than tweezers meant for different functions, however all of them pose the danger of compressing the tick as you grasp it onerous sufficient to pull it out.
The superior instruments for this objective all have the V-shaped slot that you simply wedge the tick’s physique into, successfully utilizing its … shoulders? … as leverage for whenever you pull.
The greatest tick-pulling instruments have a couple of particular attributes that enhance their effectiveness:
They are made from a robust but skinny materials. The instrument has to be skinny sufficient to slide between the tick’s physique and the dog’s pores and skin, alongside either side of the tick’s … neck?
They are possessed of a V-shaped slot that’s slim sufficient at the backside of the V to lure and leverage towards the narrowest of tick … shoulders? (The tick’s physique, mainly.) If the V will not be vanishingly slim at the backside, the instrument received’t seize the tiniest ticks.
They are of a dimension and form that’s simple for even thick-fingered folks to grasp securely and that may be slid underneath the tick’s physique simply.
We examined a number of tick-removal instruments with V-shaped slots, and our favorites are described beneath. We bought all of those merchandise on Amazon.com. We like to assist native pet provide shops, however these merchandise are hardly ever present in shops.