The place I stay in northern California, many of the ticks that dogs decide up are these comparatively giant “American dog ticks” (Dermacentor variabilis). They’re simple to comb out of a dog’s coat earlier than they’ve latched on and straightforward to search out as soon as they’ve latched onto the dog’s physique; simply run your fingers throughout him and really feel for bumps. In distinction, “deer ticks” (Ixodes scapularis), widespread in different components 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 dwelling within the woods and fields, simply ready to latch onto your dog (otherwise you!) and suck your blood. Bloating themselves with blood, ticks increase in dimension exponentially earlier than falling off, in a position now to breed – gross! Add in the truth that a sure share of ticks might also 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 explain the sheer perniciousness of this insect’s survival technique.
Most of us are conscious that ticks could be contaminated with the spirochetes (microscopic bacterial organisms) that trigger Lyme illness (for extra info, see Lyme Illness in Canine, WDJ October 2018). However, relying on what a part of the nation you reside in, the ticks round you might carry any variety of different spirochetes that trigger different painful illnesses, equivalent 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 a different. When a tick sucks blood from an contaminated mammal, chicken, or reptile (widespread hosts embrace mice, chipmunks, deer, birds, and lizards) the spirochetes come aboard and arrange store contained in the tick; when the contaminated tick bites its subsequent host, the spirochetes slip into the brand new sufferer by means of the tick’s saliva. The longer the tick feeds, the longer the spirochetes need to infect the tick’s latest host.
Not all ticks carry the spirochetes that trigger illness in mammals. The speed 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 % of tick nymphs and 30 to 50 % of grownup ticks are contaminated with B. burgdorferi. In different components of the nation, B. burgdorferi could also be present in fewer than 5 % of ticks.
The way to Defend Your Canine
To guard your loved ones members from tick-borne illness, then, your job is two-fold: Do the whole lot which you could to maintain ticks off of your dog, and rapidly discover and take away any ticks that do handle to climb aboard.
We’ve mentioned oral and topical pesticides which can be fed to or utilized to dogs to kill ticks in different articles (see Prescription Flea and Tick Medicine, WDJ September 2017). But it surely’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 employ, some ticks will handle to climb aboard and chew your dog. So let’s speak concerning the second tactic for safeguarding your dog from tick-borne illness: Getting the ticks off your dog ASAP.
The way to Take away Ticks
I’ve heard numerous strategies for tick elimination: Paint a tick with nail polish and it’ll detach from the dog to keep away from being suffocated. Contact 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 really fairly easy: Simply attempt to get grip on the tick, as near the dog’s pores and skin as attainable, and pull it straight out.
Observe that I mentioned easy, not simple. Ticks are tiny. Your dog could also be squirming. If his coat is thick, it is perhaps laborious to isolate the tick in your grip. Chances are you’ll find yourself pulling, or being impeded by, his hair, too. And in case your fingers are thick, you run the chance of squishing the tick between them as you pull, which may end up in squeezing the contents of the tick’s mouth and guts into your dog! Ack! That really will increase the prospect of infecting your dog with any disease-carrying spirochetes that the tick is perhaps internet hosting!
Tweezers can be utilized extra successfully than your fingers, however they, too, pose the chance of compacting the tick and squirting that doubtlessly pathogenic-filled tick spit into your dog’s physique.
As a substitute, use a tick pulling software with a V-shaped slot. Slide the software between your dog’s pores and skin and the tick’s physique, wedging the tick’s physique into the tightest a part of the software’s crevice. Once you really feel that the tick is securely lodged within the slot, pull upward on the software and – pop! The tick comes proper out.
Tick Instrument Time
There are any variety of tick-pulling instruments in the marketplace. A lot of them are principally tweezers. They could have longer stems or sharper factors than tweezers meant for different functions, however all of them pose the chance of compacting the tick as you grasp it laborious sufficient to drag it out.
The superior instruments for this goal all have the V-shaped slot that you simply wedge the tick’s physique into, successfully utilizing its … shoulders? … as leverage for once you pull.
The very best tick-pulling instruments have a number of particular attributes that improve their effectiveness:
They’re made from a powerful but skinny materials. The software needs to be skinny sufficient to slip between the tick’s physique and the dog’s pores and skin, alongside either side of the tick’s … neck?
They’re possessed of a V-shaped slot that’s slim sufficient on the backside of the V to entice and leverage towards the narrowest of tick … shoulders? (The tick’s physique, principally.) If the V just isn’t vanishingly slim on the backside, the software gained’t seize the tiniest ticks.
They’re of a dimension and form that’s simple for even thick-fingered individuals to know securely and that may be slid beneath 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 prefer to help native pet provide shops, however these merchandise are hardly ever present in shops.