Ticks are spider-like small parasites that suck blood from other animals. They have eight legs, with an egg-shaped body that will become larger and darker when filled with blood. Unlike fleas, they don’t jump on your pet. Instead, they climb or drop on your pet’s coat when they brush past whatever they’re sitting on.
Ticks are common in woodlands and grasslands and, although active throughout the year, in Florida we tend to see them mostly in the winter months. Cats are less likely to get ticks than dogs, but it can still happen.
Complications Associated with Ticks
· Blood loss
· Tick paralysis
· Skin irritation or infection
· Lyme Disease and other infectious diseases
How Do I know if My Pet Has Ticks?
Most ticks are visible to the naked eye. Ticks are often the size of a pinhead before they bite, and not noticed until they swell with blood.
While these parasites rarely cause obvious discomfort, it is a good idea to check your pet regularly if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, especially if he spends a lot of time outside.
Run your hands carefully over your pet every time he comes inside, and especially check inside and around the ears, head and feet.
How to remove a tick
Tick bites can carry diseases, so it’s important to remove them straight away. When removing a tick, make sure not you don’t squeeze the tick’s body or leave the head in. If you squeeze its body or leave the head in, this can push blood back into your pet, which will increase the chance of them getting a disease.
Step 1: Prepare
Put on latex or rubber gloves so you’ll never have direct contact with the tick or your pet’s bite area.
Because throwing a tick in the trash or flushing it down the toilet will not kill it, you should prepare a screw-top jar containing rubbing alcohol to put a tick in after removal
If possible, enlist a partner to help you distract and soothe your pet and hold her still during removal.
Step 2: Remove
Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the animal’s skin as possible.
Pull straight upwards with steady, even pressure and place the tick in your jar.
Do not twist or jerk the tick. This may leave the mouth-parts embedded in your pet, or cause the tick to regurgitate infective fluids.
Do not squeeze or crush the body of the tick, because its fluids may contain infective organisms.
Step 3: Disinfect and Monitor
Disinfect the bite area and wash your hands with soap and water, even though you were wearing gloves.
Sterilize your tweezers with alcohol or by carefully running them over a flame.
Monitor the bite area over the next few weeks for any signs of localized infection, such as redness or inflammation.
If infection occurs, please bring your pet—and your jarred tick—to your veterinarian for evaluation.
Ensure a tick-free lawn by mowing it regularly, removing tall weeds and making it inhospitable to rodents by keeping garbage covered and inaccessible.
Many of the same products on the market that treat fleas also kill ticks and prevent against future infestation. Speak to your vet about the best product for your pet.