How to Safely Remove a Tick From Your Pet’s Body

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dr. Patke demonstrating how to examine your pet for ticks.

With all of the wonderful ways to enjoy the great outdoors this time of year, it’s also easy to forget to inspect your pets for ticks and other parasites. Contact with a tick’s blood could transmit infection to both you and your pet. That infection can lead to dangerous, even fatal conditions, like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, to name a few.

When your pet plays in the yard or any grassy area, ticks can attach themselves on the cat or dog’s head, neck, feet and ears. Some clever ticks will even hide under fur. Carefully run your fingers over your pet’s body frequently, checking for any bumps that could be bugs.

If you spot a tick, it needs to be removed, but carefully. First, treat the affected area with rubbing alcohol. Gently pluck the tick from your pet’s body with tweezers. Make sure you remove the entire body, especially the tick’s pesky biting head. We recommend putting the tick inside a plastic bag and sealing it immediately. Bring the sealed bag with you to our office. This could help us identify the type of tick that may have infected your pet and any risk factors.

Since it is hard for us to know when the tick became attached to your pet’s body or if it spread infection while it was biting your fur baby, it is best to call our veterinary clinic and make an appointment for an exam. The veterinary team will run appropriate blood tests to identify or rule out disease.

It is very important that all pets in our region are on flea-tick preventive medications. Always consult with your veterinarian before buying or applying spot-on products, especially if your dog or cat is very young, old, pregnant or nursing. Giving a smaller dog a dose designed for a larger dog could harm your pet. Products labeled for use only in dogs should never be used on cats.

We recommend buying medicines directly from your veterinarian to ensure that you are, in fact, receiving EPA-registered and FDA-approved medications we can track.

Dr. Loni Patke, is a veterinarian at Cape Small Animal Clinic