How To Deal With Ticks
Although spring is the main season for ticks, these creatures are around for most of the year. Ticks are large flea-like parasites that attach themselves to animals and humans for the sole purpose of feeding on blood. Once a certain amount of blood is sucked out of you or your pet’s body, the ticks grow bigger in size and can be removed. The sated adult tick may drop off the host, but it will have already laid its eggs, which will hatch out and feed on your pet cat or dog.
Ticks are dangerous, because they transmit serious diseases like Lyme’s disease in humans, and because they can carry more than one disease-causing agent, it compounds the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment.
Any animal can become infested with ticks – dogs, cats, sheep, horses, deer – and if the animal is not treated there are a number of diseases that can cause major concerns for its health. For example: ticks usually appear on horses between the thighs, under the mane and the root of the tail.
Animals generally pick up ticks from woodland and fields, but they can also be carried in bales of hay or straw.
Adult ticks look like a large blood blister, and have tiny, curving-back teeth. When they bite into an animal, these teeth dig deep beneath the skin, making them extremely difficult to extract.
A tick’s blood is poisonous and care should be taken not to burst the body. If the blood gets into an open wound either on a human or animal, the result can be a very unpleasant skin infection, if not something more deadly.
If you are not squeamish, the quickest way to remove ticks is to spray them with a small amount of alchohol, which stuns them immediately. Using surgical gloves, remove the tick carefully once it has loosened its grip. You can use tweezers but the experts use their fingers.
Drop the ticks into boiling water which kills them instantly and flush they down the lavatory. Lightly dab a small amount of alcohol on the area from where the tick was removed.
If treating larger animals, or you have a cat /dog that objects to being man-handled in this way, then obtain a pharmaceutical preparation from your Vet and use as directed.
Prevention is better than cure, and there are reliable monthly ‘spot-on’ flea-tick treatments for domestic pets that will stop ticks dead in their tracks. If your pets (including horses) have access to open farm and woodland, do check them regularly for ticks and fleas (see How To Treat Your Dog For Fleas). Consult your Vet or agricultural pharmacist fore the right course of treatment.
Ticks can be carried into your home by pets and will attach themselves to humans.