Ticks are becoming more prevalent in Ontario. Some of these eight-legged bloodsuckers carry very serious diseases, such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If you find a tick on your dog, it should be removed immediately. Do NOT just pull it off, as the ticks head is embedded in the skin. To remove it you will need a pair of fine tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull it firmly away from the skin until it releases–sometimes it helps to twist a bit as you pull. Sometimes a small piece of the dog’s skin will come with the tick. They are remarkably strong and will resist being pulled off. If the head breaks off, a skin reaction or minor infection may result. If you are concerned, or if a bump forms in the area, please bring the pet in to be checked by one of our vets.
As many of the diseases carried by ticks can be life threatening or life-long for both humans and pets, preventing ticks from attaching in the first place is essential. After any walk in the woods or long grass, examine your dog and yourself for any ticks that may be trying to attach and remove them. A tick that hasn’t yet attached will be moving around on your pet. If the tick isn’t moving and/or you can’t see it’s head, the tick likely has attached. Please follow the instructions above to remove the tick. Products such as Advantix will discourage ticks from attaching.
After you remove the tick, either destroy it, or if you are concerned about possible disease, save the tick, and it can be sent out for testing for a number of tick-borne diseases. We can then advise you about the best course of action for your pet.
If you are uncomfortable removing the tick yourself, or are uncertain of what a tick looks like, please call the clinic and we will be happy to see your dog and help you.