Spring is just around the corner and you're probably looking forward to the days when you can hunt with your fluffy fur over the forest and meadows. With the heat, however, the ticks also appear longer and more often. The little bloodsuckers are well known to every pet owner. It almost seems as if they are lurking everywhere, just waiting to find the right host. The little bloodsuckers are not only annoying, but also dangerous disease carriers. And for humans and animals. Dogs in particular are very popular with ticks. Today we want to look at how to properly remove the bloodsuckers from your pet and also what some myths are about. After all, it never hurts to clear up mistakes.
Ticks - information, errors and protective measures
A first big misconception is that ticks would linger somewhere above us until a suitable host gets under them and they just drop. The danger really comes from below. Ticks live in grass and bushes. It doesn't matter whether it's a high meadow or the city park around the corner. Your dog may be the appropriate host, and if so, the bloodsuckers will graze on the grass or shrub. Next stop: the host's skin. Once bitten, they feed on the host's blood for up to 15 days. Soaked, they let themselves fall again. Ticks do not only become active in the warm seasons. In fact, a temperature of just 7°C is sufficient. If it gets colder, the ticks hibernate. But what the bloodsuckers prefer is muggy weather, for example in the summer after a rain shower.
You can't really prevent tick infestation. There is parasite protection for animals, but even the most common means do not protect your animal from infestation. Antiparasitics are given, for example, in the form of drops on the neck of the animal and kill ticks when they suck blood. But these agents are also in the organism of your animal and sometimes they can also burden the animal. The so-called parasite protection bands, which can be put on the dog as a collar, are better here. These have proven themselves positively in many studies and do not burden the organism of the animal. In both cases, it is advisable to speak to the vet beforehand. Especially if your pet is a cat. Because what is okay for the dog can even be toxic for the cat! In no case is there a 100 percent tick-free agent, so all you have to do is thoroughly search the animal, preferably after every walk.
How do ticks actually cling to their host?
Well, ticks are well equipped to a) bite and b) cling to the host. The so-called stinging apparatus is located on the head of the parasite. This is provided with several barbs and the proboscis through which the blood is drawn. Some tick species also produce a kind of glue. In any case, the parasites are well prepared not to fall off the victim. The real problem with tick bites isn't that the ticks cling to the victim. Rather, the problem is that many tick bites go undetected.
And what exactly is the problem with undetected tick bites?
As already mentioned, ticks are among the most dangerous carriers of diseases. Among other things, babesiosis (canine malaria). But also anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and TBE. In most cases, the pathogens of these diseases get into the host's organism via the saliva or the digestive system. Lyme disease is the most common disease in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This is transmitted by the so-called wooden block. Preventive vaccination is therefore recommended for animals and humans.
Important note: There is still no vaccine against Lyme disease. Against TBE - tick-borne encephalitis - but yes. This disease is also transmitted by ticks, but caused by transmitted viruses. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. With regard to the vaccines and their possible side effects, you can always contact your trusted veterinarian (which we definitely recommend before vaccination).
Now it's time to get down to business. And that's not even half as hard as you might imagine. No matter what kind of "tool" you use to pull the tick, the process is basically the same:
- Gently pull apart the fur at the tick site.
- Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull the tick gently and vertically out of the skin (never with a twisting motion!).
- When dragging vertically, you can move the drag tool back and forth slightly.
- After the tick is pulled, you should clean and disinfect the area.
The tool is purely a personal preference. Tweezers, tick card, tick tweezers - all reliably remove the bloodsuckers from the body. In addition, ticks should be removed as soon as they are discovered. Of course, a few more hours can go by (Borreliosis bacteria are only transmitted after about 12-24 hours), but you shouldn't allow yourself too much time either. In itself, however, it is advisable to always have a drawing tool with you.
Special Note: The tick head stuck is surrounded by many misconceptions. Even if the head remains in the body when the tick is removed, there is no cause for alarm. The entire head does not get stuck, only the bite of the tick. This apparatus alone cannot transmit diseases and is expelled by the body itself.
Conclusion and what to do with the pulled tick?
Yes, where exactly to go with the removed parasite? Just in the toilet? No! Definitely not just in the toilet. Because ticks think underwater surprisingly well and for a long time. Better you drown the tick either in chlorine cleaner or in Sagrotan. However, you can also simply burn the ticks. Simply place the drawn bloodsuckers on a paper kitchen towel, fold them up and burn them.
We hope that these tips will help you get through the warm seasons better. Tick bites can pose a danger to humans and animals and should always be classified as a danger. Joking around with it can quickly go haywire. With our tips, however, you should be able to remove every tick with every pulling tool and thus ensure the health of your four-legged friend(s).