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best way to remove a tick?


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For a few days, I've been watching "something" on Ladybug's head that I thought was one of those skin flap warts, but it finally puffed out enough and seemed partially detached so I thought it might come off with a little tug of the tweezers. I still thought it was a wart, so imagine my surprise when I saw the little legs kicking and I recognized it as a tick....haven't seen one since my childhood in Virginia. The little parasite was pretty engorged so he rolled right off. Stabbed him with a letter opener!

 

The vet says she'll be fine...just look for infection and that it is an especially good year for ticks here in the Northeast.

 

I am now on red alert for ticks as we've been spending a great deal of time in the woods. All the dogs are treated with flea and tick treatment but if I find another one is it best to wait until the the tick get fat so they're easier to pull off as my grandfather always did or yank them out as soon as you see them and risk leaving a leg or two behind?

 

Liz

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Ticks should be removed as soon as you find them. The longer they are attached the better the chances of a disease being passed. Additionally if it was a big fat one most likely it was a female. She may have even had time to lay eggs. While gross the method I prefer to remove them is to soak them in alcohol (on a cotton ball) and the using your finger nails grab as close to the mouth where possible. After removal make sure the proboscis was not left behind and that the wound is clean, nothing left behind. That means scraping the wound area with yur fingnaol to make sure it's clean. Otherwise you could find scar tissue growing over where the bite is.

 

 

 

 

I know someones going to say, Fingernails, eeeewwwwww!!!! :rolleyes:

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Ticks should be removed as soon as you find them. The longer they are attached the better the chances of a disease being passed. Additionally if it was a big fat one most likely it was a female. She may have even had time to lay eggs. While gross the method I prefer to remove them is to soak them in alcohol (on a cotton ball) and the using your finger nails grab as close to the mouth where possible. After removal make sure the proboscis was not left behind and that the wound is clean, nothing left behind. That means scraping the wound area with yur fingnaol to make sure it's clean. Otherwise you could find scar tissue growing over where the bite is.

I know someones going to say, Fingernails, eeeewwwwww!!!! :rolleyes:

 

It started out very oblongish - skinny and flat...looked like one of those skin tags coming up and it puffed up over a few days Actually I did scrape it.....and yes, with a fingernail...now, what about those eggs???? Where do I find them????

 

Liz

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About those eggs. I'll take them over easy with bacon. :rolleyes:

 

The eggs are white and are laid at the base of the hairs in your dogs coat. You can see them with a maginfying glass.

 

Give your dog a bath with a good flea and tick shampoo. I use Head and Shoulders for that since it contains selinium a flea killing ingredient and let it soak on the skin for at least 10 mins. After an extremely good brushing inspecting the area where you remove the tick to make sure you got the eggs, if any were laid.

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Both our BC's came off a ranch and they obviously had a tick problem. I checked them everyday, killing any ticks I found. I also sprayed the dogs, bedding, carpet and rugs with Adam's flea and tick spray. I even sprayed some on my hands to rub around their ears. After about a week or so, no more ticks.

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Liz: I'll second what Desertranger said - remove ticks as soon as you spot them if you want to head off tick-borne disease. Ticks elicit a huge "eeew!" response from me and DH alike, so we have a pair of tweezers dedicated to that purpose. We just pull them off and then apply a dab of triple antibiotic ointment to the site. If they've already grabbed on, then you may find a small wound that takes a week or two to heal; keep an eye on it.

 

It's my understanding that topical tick preventatives are supposed to kill ticks before they get to the point of becoming engorged. We found three or four ticks on our pup this year while he was on Vectra 3D (I've since switched to Frontline, not because of questions about Vectra's efficacy, but more because it seemed to bother him), but none were engorged. It's possible that your local ticks are becoming immune to whatever you've been using; you may want to switch to something with a different active ingredient. Here's a website that compares active ingredients for different veterinary products: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_flea_...comparison.html

 

I'm surprised that you haven't had problems with ticks in the past if you live in the Northeast. My last Border collie picked them up like mad when we lived in Massachusetts (but those were the days before topical preventatives like Frontline existed). We had to go over her thoroughly after every walk in the woods. Lyme disease was first "discovered" in Connecticut, so the area is certainly not immune from tick-borne disease.

 

Good luck!

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Liz: I'll second what Desertranger said - remove ticks as soon spot them if you want to head off tick-borne disease. Ticks elicit a huge "eeew!" response from me and DH alike, so we have a pair of tweezers dedicated to that purpose. We just pull them off and then apply a dab of triple antibiotic ointment to the site. If they've already grabbed on, then you may find a small wound that takes a week or two to heal; keep an eye on it.

 

It's my understanding that topical tick preventatives are supposed to kill ticks before they get to the point of becoming engorged. We found three or four ticks on our pup this year while he was on Vectra 3D (I've since switched to Frontline, not because of questions about Vectra's efficacy, but more because it seemed to bother him), but none were engorged. It's possible that your local ticks are becoming immune to whatever you've been using; you may want to switch to something with a different active ingredient. Here's a website that compares active ingredients for different veterinary products: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_flea_...comparison.html

 

I'm surprised that you haven't had problems with ticks in the past if you live in the Northeast. My last Border collie picked them up like mad when we lived in Massachusetts (but those were the days before topical preventatives like Frontline existed). We had to go over her thoroughly after every walk in the woods. Lyme disease was first "discovered" in Connecticut, so the area is certainly not immune from tick-borne disease.

 

Good luck!

 

Thanks for the great advice....just been fortunate I guess. There are deer ticks around...I just haven't been in places where they are until this year (very bad knee prevented me from any long hikes, but now that I've got a new knee...it's over hill and dale again! It's great!

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Tick removal has become one of my specialities :rolleyes: my husband who normally is not squemish about anything hates ticks. Living in New England and despite using frontline I remove a lot of them, they come off as soon as we find them. I take a tissue cover, and remove with my fingernails using a sharp tug. Then flush the tick down the loo. I tried tweezers and the special tick removing devices but have found sharp fingernails work the best.

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There are several "tick removers" on the market. Google it! Also, you can smear them with Vaseline, wait a few minutes and they come off relatively easy (the Vaseline suffocates them). The only product I find to be effective for ticks is the PrevenTick collars, sold by your vet only.

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Thought this might help in selecting products.

 

Chemical Toxicity

 

This is useful - but I have to add a caveat: it's all a matter of balancing risks. A chemical may be a carcinogen and your use of it on your dog may result in (say) a 1 in 1 million risk of cancer. On the other hand, if you live (as I do) in Tick Central, USA, and there's a high risk of tick-borne illnesses - your dog may have a very high risk of developing such unless you use some sort of preventative measure. My vet says he has dogs come in every week during high tick season with Lyme disease. Though it's generally curable, some don't make it. In my mind that's enough of a risk to want me to use preventative measures, even if it involves using a toxic chemical.

 

Obviously you want to use the safest chemical for any given purpose, as long as it's effective. For example: s-methoprene is listed in this table as a "safer chemical". But it will neither repel, nor kill, ticks. Rather, it interferes with insect metamorphosis (pupae won't mature). So it won't keep a flea from biting your dog, or laying eggs, and it won't prevent the eggs from hatching. It will keep the next generation of biting fleas from maturing. But ticks aren't insects. (Also, as a side note, one of the environmental breakdown products of s-methoprene is a compound that messes up tadpole metamorphosis - the adult frogs have malformed eyes).

 

Also, you can smear them with Vaseline, wait a few minutes and they come off relatively easy (the Vaseline suffocates them).

 

We must have tougher ticks in New England! My husband and I tried that several times when we lived there. There was one day in particular when we were in New Hampshire and the dog picked up at least a dozen ticks. We kept calling the vet for suggestions. Vaseline was one. So we applied big gobs of Vaseline, and the ticks hung on for hours, blithely unaffected. We also tried hitting them with burning cigarettes (borrowed from a friend), when that was the vet's next suggestion. Didn't work - they just wriggled their little legs at us. Alcohol? Nope. We finally gave up and took the dog to the vet. He yanked them right off. We were horrified as we thought that's what we'd been told not to do, but he assured us it was best. Current vet has echoed the same advice.

 

Now DH and I draw straws to see who gets the dubious pleasure.

 

The only product I find to be effective for ticks is the PrevenTick collars, sold by your vet only.

 

Thanks for the suggestion! Next time I spot a tick on the dog, I think I'll run, not walk, to the vet's to get one. I DO NOT LIKE TICKS.

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About those eggs. I'll take them over easy with bacon. :rolleyes:

 

The eggs are white and are laid at the base of the hairs in your dogs coat. You can see them with a maginfying glass.

 

Give your dog a bath with a good flea and tick shampoo. I use Head and Shoulders for that since it contains selinium a flea killing ingredient and let it soak on the skin for at least 10 mins. After an extremely good brushing inspecting the area where you remove the tick to make sure you got the eggs, if any were laid.

That's interesting. I was not aware that ticks laid eggs on the host animal (at least not the common ticks). I was also under the impression that flea/tick shampoos were not very effective with regards to tick eggs (well, and if the eggs are not laid on the host, what good would the shampoo be on tick eggs). I do know that lice lay white eggs on hair shafts, though.

 

A thoroughly unpleasant subject no matter how you look at it.

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Obviously you want to use the safest chemical for any given purpose, as long as it's effective.

 

I think you nailed it there but if you have to use a 'less-safe alternative', then don't use it any longer than absolutely necessary. I'm all for getting rid of any infestations around the home and then using a repellant when you're out and about BUT I'm a city boy with city dogs and they are usually at low-risk of getting any more ticks. Most of the time, I don't use anything. If we were in the boonies more, I could see taking more precautions. I guess bottom line is people have to weigh the risk of getting ticks with the risk of whatever chemicals they believe is most effective and try to make the best decision for their pet.

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A lot of education here! I literally went over all three dogs with a fine tooth comb after our walk today...didn't find a thing, thank goodness. Hope to never again but at least this time, I'll know how to deal with it...one good yank!

 

Liz

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Most of the time, I don't use anything. If we were in the boonies more, I could see taking more precautions. I guess bottom line is people have to weigh the risk of getting ticks with the risk of whatever chemicals they believe is most effective and try to make the best decision for their pet.

 

Well my dogs spend their whole lives in the "boonies" so tick control is critical for us year round. One of my dogs and my dogsitter's dog have both been treated for Lyme disease so it is a real threat. That said, I can't say good enough things about the PrevenTick collars which do a great job repelling ticks. I don't remember ever finding an embedded tick while using the collars. Embedded ticks get removed the quick and easy way - I grab as close to the skin as possible and pull it off.

 

Lisa

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I live in Tick Central. Frankly, we just grasp the ticks between our thumbnails and forefingers and pull them out with a quick jerk of the wrist. Bing bang boom, and they're gone. I prefer the flushing method of disposal. :rolleyes:

 

Ticks around here seem resistant to Frontline. I use K9 Advantix, and I only applied it twice this year: high tick season in spring (when I found one on Buddy), and then again after my sister told me she'd pulled a bunch of ticks off her dog, in the fall season (late September/early October).

 

In between those seasons, we seem to have a dry, relatively tick-free season: June, July, August. I simply don't apply the chemicals unless and until I find a tick myself or hear reports of high infestations.

 

But, yeah... once you've seen enough dogs develop Lyme disease, you get a bit less worried about the chemicals. I've never known anyone whose dog got ill from a preventative, though I'm sure it happens. Almost every dog I've known around here has developed Lyme disease.

 

Mary

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My only experience with ticks is on humans (ok, me!). I used to pick them off with my fingers and then crush them, but found out that this is a really good way of getting a tick-borne disease. I ended up catching one and it was probably one of the top 5 most scary experiences of my life. If you can get the whole tick in one piece, by all means, pluck with your fingers, but flush instead of crushing. Oh, and get them off ASAP - in humans you're safe from most tick-borne diseases if you remove the tick within 24 hours. Not sure about dogs, or even if they can catch the same diseases.

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in humans you're safe from most tick-borne diseases if you remove the tick within 24 hours. Not sure about dogs, or even if they can catch the same diseases.

Dogs too, but the problem is that the tick can be so small you can't see it until it starts to balloon up, and by then it's more than 24 hours. Yes, pull ticks as soon as you see them, but far better is to keep them from attaching to the dog in the first place, and the Preventic collar (aka Amitraz collar) is the only surefire method I know of, if you live in an area where ticks are common.

 

Where I live, ticks erupt twice a year. I put the collars on the dogs at the start of each of those periods and remove the collars when the tick population seems to have died back, so I'm limiting the dogs' exposure to the collar chemicals as much as possible. But tick borne diseases (of which there are several, not just Lyme disease) are a huge health risk, definitely more than the collar chemicals.

 

I don't have fingernails so the "tick key" (about $3.50) works best for me.

Me too. Also, there are other reasons not to use your fingernails if you can avoid it. (1) Minimize contact between you and the tick - tick juice can get under your fingernails...not good. (2) As you grasp the tick, you are likely to squeeze its body a bit, which can force more "tick juice" into the dog - tweezers or tick removers grasp the tick's head and do not touch its body.

 

As for the vaseline idea, the experts seem to feel that while this may cause the tick to eventually back out, it also irritates the tick in the meantime and again increases the odds that the tick will transmit more of the nasty stuff into its victim before it eventually runs out of oxygen and comes up for air.

 

Here is a nice writeup from Drs. Foster & Smith of how to remove ticks - there's a link for purchasing the Preventic collar on the same page. If you want to buy a tool for removing ticks (I use and like the Pro Tick Remedy tool), this vet page has a really good overview of all the options, with pictures and pros and cons for each. Check it out.

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Oh my it sounds like you guys generally don't get ticks? I live on a nature reserve, on a vlei and we have ticks all the time - well the dogs do :rolleyes: I use flea and tick repelent but they still somehow manage to find their way on Chaos!

 

I just lay him on the couch, put the tweezers in dettol and remove the tick - getting as close to his skin as possible! I don't think you will be able to get the long probosics out anyway, it's generally stuck in there and so thats why the dog gets some inflamation around the area after.

 

I don't think you need to be SO concerned unless your dog stops eating and is not himself then you can panic! But you know what signs to look for so.......

 

I don't think all those fancy tick removers are neccesary - just people trying to make good money off you!!

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I didn't realize other places were so bad. I never pulled a single tick off either of my last two dogs in 14 years.

 

Well you are lucky! The most I have pulled off Chaos after ONE walk was 12 ticks!!! Yes, it was changing of the seasons and they were out in full force! Chaos likes to go into the bush and so he would pick up the most.

 

Tick bite fever is my main concern but haven't had any worry thus far......

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Well you are lucky!

 

The most I have pulled off Chaos after ONE walk was 12 ticks!!!

 

 

lol! Yep, that's about the only positive about living in the buttcrack of America. :rolleyes:

 

12 ticks! Wow! I can't imagine. I found 2 on Madi and 1 on Marli when we first brought them home and I panicked.

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lol! Yep, that's about the only positive about living in the buttcrack of America. :rolleyes:

 

12 ticks! Wow! I can't imagine. I found 2 on Madi and 1 on Marli when we first brought them home and I panicked.

 

haha, well I live in South Africa and I luckily like on a nature reserve so ticks are rife.

 

After every walk I have to check both my dogs for ticks, Chaos loves being groomed and looks some what like a sleeping seal when im looking for ticks - I do a good job at that - just think monkey grooming monkey - it looks like that :D

 

They are normally easier to take out if you find them straight away as they haven't made a deep enough bite and so they are just small but I have to look well!

 

Remember ticks bite the softest parts of us and animals - under the arm - tummy - face - ears etc - so search there first!

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This may seem like a bit of a dumb question but I thought that ticks were a their worse in the summer months (I live in Milwaukee, WI)? I grew up with a dog and now have two of my own and my mom has two. We have found 3 ticks on the dogs in the last last 3 weeks! Never have before now!

 

Are they worst at the beginning of summer and then at the end of summer/early fall?

 

One was removed by a vet, one I pulled out with my fingers (got the head), and one I pulled out with my fingers and didn't get the head. :rolleyes: We had the vet look at that one to be safe - he just told my mom to put peroxide on it and then triple anitbiotic.

 

This has been a really informative thread. And thanks for all of the links Alaska.

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