Greetings, all followers of Mason’s wisdom!
In this article, LEARN MORE ABOUT FLEAS AND TICKS (the scourge!), how to properly REMOVE AN EMBEDDED TICK (yuck!) from your pet’s skin and deal with HOME FLEA DE-INFESTATION (because NOBODY’S got time for that!).
Fleas and ticks are a MAJOR PROBLEM in our area due to this region’s temperate climate. During hot and humid summer months, flea and tick populations explode relentlessly until cooler weather arrives and a hard winter freeze interrupts their life cycle. YOUR PET is the flea’s and tick’s PRIMARY HOST TARGET every time he takes a romp in untreated areas outside, in kenneling/daycare situations and, places where there is wildlife traffic. Fleas are small and so good at hiding in an animal’s fur that they can be difficult to see. Some ticks are the size of poppy seeds, making them very hard to find. Dark colored fur, long hair or a thick coat make even large ticks easy to miss.
If you see a tick embedded in your pet’s skin, plan to remove it IMMEDIATELY! Disease transmission can occur within 36 – 48 hours of attachment. First, gather supplies you will need to effectively remove the tick while protecting yourself: latex or rubber gloves, pointy tweezers (or a special implement to remove ticks), rubbing alcohol and a jar or container with a lid. If you are unable to keep your pet still, ask for someone’s help to keep him immobile and calm. Before you start, don protective gloves. Ticks can carry infectious agents that can seep through breaks in the skin. Position the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, apply steady pressure and then pull the tick straight out. Make sure not to squeeze or crush the tick, since its fluid can spread infection! After removal, examine the tick to make sure the head and mouth are still attached to its body. If you think parts were left behind in the skin, bring your pet to GFAH to remove the rest. Place the tick in the jar with some alcohol to kill it. Keep an eye on the area for several days, noting redness or inflammation that does not resolve. Call our office for advice. Over the next several weeks, you should watch your pet for signs of lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, reluctance to move or swelling of the lymph nodes. Call and make an appointment immediately if you observe any of these symptoms.