As ticks are continuing to become a growing concern in Newfoundland and Labrador, veterinarians are informing pet owners of how to protect their fur families (and themselves!) from exposure. However, no matter what precautions you take, there is still a chance a tick may end up on your pet. What do you do if you find a tick on your furry friend?
Step 1: Don’t panic! While it is true that some ticks carry diseases, improper removal can increase the risk of exposure. Remember to remain calm.
Step 2: Wear gloves if possible (risk of disease transmission to you is low, but if you can, why not be as safe as possible, right?). If your pet’s fur is obstructing your view of the tick, you can use water or alcohol to flatten the fur around the area.
Step 3: Using a pair of tweezers, grab the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible. Don’t squeeze too hard; maintain even pressure. Never squeeze the tick’s body.
Step 4: Pull the tick out in one straight motion. Do not pull too fast or twist the tweezers.
Step 5: When you have removed the tick, take a good quality photo (just in case!) then place the tick (preferably alive) in a small container with slightly damp cotton or paper towel. Bring the tick to your veterinary clinic so it can be identified and/or sent for testing.
Step 6: Clean the area with mild antibacterial soap and water or iodine, and wash your hands.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the mouthparts may still remain embedded in your pet’s skin. If this happens, and you are able to grasp the mouthparts with your tweezers, attempt to remove them that way. If you are unable to grasp the mouthparts, then leave them alone and let the skin heal on its own.
It’s also important to monitor the site for any signs of infection following removal. If inflammation, redness, crustiness, or scabbing continues for more than a week and/or worsens, you should book an appointment with your regular veterinarian.
If you have any questions, give us a call at 709-368-7981.
Written by: Kenneth Gellately, VA