Towcester Vets share dog tick removal guide and advice
February 10, 2022
Following on from our recent article about common dog parasites, Towcester Vets’ experienced RVNs (Registered Veterinary Nurses) are delving deeper still into troublesome ticks to help you keep your dog healthy. Read their advice on why these parasites are so problematic and download our guide on how to remove them safely.
Why are ticks so dangerous?
Pulling that pesky tick straight out of your dog might seem like the obvious thing to do, especially if your dog is agitated. However, this can cause the head to detach, which can lead to more irritation and an increased risk of disease transmission.
This may sound horrible, but it is a common problem during spring and summer. Our RVNs at Burcote Road explain:
- Ticks mostly live in woodland, long grasses, and fields where livestock graze and wildlife roam. Although most prevalent in spring and summer, they can be problematic throughout the year in some areas.
- Ticks can vary but are typically small, oval, and flat. They are roughly the size of a sesame seed and can swell to coffee bean size after a feast of blood.
- They latch onto pets (and people) by inserting their mouthparts into the skin to suck blood. Many produce a sticky glue-like substance to stay attached.
- A tick bite can cause irritation, as well as anaemia and temporary paralysis in rare cases.
- Ticks can spread Lyme disease, which affects humans too. Left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to a serious, debilitating, chronic illness with complications for life.
How to tell if your dog has a tick bite
After a walk, whether in Towcester or further afield, our Nurses recommend that you check your dog all over for ticks – they will feel like small bumps. You should pay extra attention to your dog’s tummy, armpits, ears, head, neck, groin, and feet. Your dog might:
- be excessively scratching or biting at an area
- be shaking their head
- have an initial ‘bullseye’ rash around the bite site
- have intermittent lameness
- show fever or lethargy
How to remove a tick safely
You will need a tick removal tool that has been specially designed for the job. They typically come in a pack of two sizes and can be purchased from most vet practices, pet stores, and some online retailers. Our Vet Nurses recommend having a set in your pet first aid kit, your handbag, and your car.
The longer the tick is in your pet, the bigger the risk of disease transmission. If you are struggling to remove it yourself, contact our nursing team for advice.