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Posted on 03-14-2017

Be sure to perform a tick check often and remove ticks promptly to help prevent disease transmission.

The best way to find ticks on your pet is to run your hands over the whole body. Ticks attach most frequently around the pet’s head, ears, neck, and feet, but can be found anywhere on the body.

The safest way to remove a tick is to pull off the entire tick. The tick should be grasped as close to the skin attachment as possible. You may use tweezers, a specific tick removal device, or gloved fingers. Pull the tick off slowly and steadily. Try not to leave the tick’s head embedded in the dog’s skin. Don’t squeeze the tick because it might expel some disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, or protozoa, into your pet during the process. Do NOT apply hot matches, petroleum jelly, turpentine, nail polish, or just rubbing alcohol alone (if rubbing alcohol is used applied the tick must be removed promptly) because these methods do not remove the ticks and they are not safe for your pet. Once you have removed a live tick, don’t dispose of it until you have killed it. Put the tick in alcohol or insecticide to kill it. If you would like the tick itself tested for disease, this is an option through our lab. In that instance, please submit the tick to us killed in rubbing alcohol (not insecticide). Cover the tick in alcohol and bring to the clinic in an airtight container.

Watch for Infection and Diseases. After the tick has been removed, the area of previous attachment may become inflamed and could become red, crusty, or scabby. A small lump may form at the site. The tick’s attachment causes irritation and the site can become infected; if the pet is scratching at it, this will increase the risk of this occurring. A topical antibiotic is sometimes prescribed to relieve this type of inflammation, but is usually not necessary. The inflammation should go down within a week. If it stays crusty and inflamed longer than a week, oral medications may be needed. Dogs can be tested through our in-house screening test for Lyme’s disease, Anaplasma and Erhlichia as soon as 3 weeks post exposure. However, no tick disease testing is 100% accurate and identification of disease can be difficult. Submitting the tick itself is one option to better determine if exposure may have occurred or simply monitoring your pet for any sign of illness and alerting the attending veterinarian of recent tick exposure at time of exam. In most instances of tick exposure disease does not occur, but when it does it can be a serious event.

Tick control is the best medicine. We recommend Nexgard or Bravecto for safe and effective tick control. Be very cautious with topical tick control medications as these can be toxic to cats and result in seizures. They can be applied to dogs only.

Call us for details at (408) 263-3990.

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