Although you may know preventative measures are the best option for preventing disease transmission, there may be a time where a tick is still found on our pet. Performing regular checks of your pet will allow ticks to be discovered in a timely fashion, helping to reduce the risk of tick diseases.
Ticks collected by members of the general public, veterinarians, medical professionals and wildlife biologists from pets, people, or wild animals can be submitted for identification and testing. This passive surveillance helps to track the tick population & disease prevalence.
To remove ticks that are embedded in skin, use tweezers to carefully grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull slowly upward, avoiding twisting or crushing the tick. Take special care to ensure the head is removed with the tick. If left in the pet it can be irritating and create an infection. Cleanse the bite area with soap and water. Do not try to burn or smother the tick. These are myths that do not work efficiently for ensuring the whole tick is removed from your pet.
Note the date and location of the bite on your pet and where the pet may have encountered the tick (be as specific as possible). Save the tick in a secure container such as an empty pill vial (alive if possible). A bit of moistened paper towel placed inside the container will keep ticks from drying out. Dried out ticks are more difficult to identify and test for tick bourne diseases. You can then bring the tick into your veterinarian, who can send it out for testing to identify the species and see if it is carrying any diseases.
If you are concerned about removing a tick from your pet yourself, it is advisable to ask for assistance from your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can also discuss the possible symptoms of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, so that if your pet shows these symptoms you can recognize them and treat promptly.
If a tick is found on your pet it is recommended that you screen them for any potential tick diseases they may have contracted. This is a blood test that is performed by your veterinarian and should be collected 3 months after exposure to the tick (this is how long it takes for any possible diseases to show up in the blood). For more information please contact your veterinarian.