Dear Porky and Buddy,
I was petting my dog Scooby last night and felt this odd little lump thing on his neck. When I took a closer look, oh gross, it was a tick. I had never seen one on him before. I didn’t think they even started before the summer. So I tried putting alcohol on the little bugger to make him back out and that didn’t work at all. How do you get a tick out?
Did you ever wonder what ecological role ticks play in the universe? Think about it . . . lots of other creatures that some people think of as “gross,” spiders, bats, slugs, rats, to name a few (not that we agree, we are just speaking in generalities here) do play important roles in the ecosystem, primarily because of what they eat or because of who eats them. But ticks? As a general rule they don’t even qualify as a snack!
But back to the practical world. It is important to remove ticks promptly. They feed on blood, and while doing that they deposit saliva into the wound they make that can carry any number of serious diseases, including, in this area, Lyme disease.
But first, give up the old myths that alcohol, heat, petroleum jelly or whatever will persuade a tick to back out once it is attached to someone’s skin. They will only annoy it and may cause it to deposit even more disease carrying saliva into the wound.
Instead, to remove a tick, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or special tick removal instruments that you can find at any pet store. These devices allow you to remove the tick without squeezing the tick body. This is important as you do not want to crush the tick and force harmful bacteria to leave the tick and enter your pet’s (or your own) bloodstream.
Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body. Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Do not twist the tick as you are pulling. Don’t be worried about the tick head staying in as that rarely happens.
After removing the tick, place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it. (Ticks are not killed by flushing them down the toilet.) Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant and apply a small amount of a triple antibiotic ointment. Wash your hands thoroughly.
Then call your vet to find out what form of tick control he or she recommends for Scooby.
There are a number of products available but you need professional advice to choose the most appropriate. Know that tick season does not wait for the summer; it is starting now, as you have found out.
On a happier spring note, the Oliver Paine Nurseries Spring Plant Fundraiser will take place on May 17 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Nursery, 125 South Granby Road, Fulton.
15% of your plant purchases will be donated to the Humane Society, but you need the special flyer to take with you.
You can download it at www.oswegohumane.org
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!