Removing Ticks

Ticks are problems for pets and people alike and it’s important to remove them as soon as you notice them. Ticks are most commonly populated in grassy or wooded areas, including sand dunes with tall beach grasses. Here in San Diego county, we have all of those and yes, there are ticks. Dogs are susceptible to tick bites and the diseases they may carry so talk with Dr. Bischel about a tick prevention medication as there are no vaccines available for them.

Note: Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Do not apply any tick prevention products to your cats without first asking your veterinarian!

Guidelines on How to Remove a Tick

(According to the Center for Disease Control)

    1. Since ticks can pose a risk to people as well, wear exam gloves. Use a specific tick removal tool such as tick removal hook or any fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Don’t use your fingers as this may squeeze the tick and push the pathogens into the bite.
    2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
    3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
    4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

After the tick has been removed, clean the area of the bite. What you’ll use depends on where on your pet’s body the tick was attached. You’ll be limited to just water if it was near the eye or other sensitive areas. For most other areas on the body, a gentle scrub with an antiseptic like Hibiclens or Povidine Iodine is best or warm, soapy water if you don’t have any antiseptic on-hand.

  • Note the date you found the tick. If your pet begins displaying symptoms of a tick-borne illness, your veterinarian may want to identify or test it.
  • If the skin develops a rash, appears irritated or infected, make an appointment for your pet to be seen.

Watch your pet for symptoms of tick-borne diseases. Some symptoms include arthritis or lameness that lasts for three to four days, reluctance to move, swollen joints, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and neurological problems. If your pet develops any these symptoms, make sure you take them to be checked by a veterinarian!