If you find a tick on one of your barnyard animals, remove it immediately.
Mom took me and Uzzi for a walk the day before yesterday, and we all got ticks. Now Uzzi and I have itchy spots where Mom took them off. Ow!
Ticks aren't just annoying; they are dangerous, too. Dad caught Ehrlichiosis from a tick and almost died. Because I don't want you to get tick fever, please go back and read the blog post I wrote about stopping ticks from infecting humans.
Worldwide, there are about 850 tick species and 30 major tick-borne diseases. Ten serious diseases occur in humans in the United States alone.
Tick-borne diseases of pets and farm animals can be deadly, too. They include Anaplasmosis (cattle, goats and sheep), Babesiosis (dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses), Ehrlichiosis (dogs and horses), Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (dogs), Lyme disease (cattle, horses, dogs and other small mammals), Hepatozoonosis (dogs and cats) and Cytauxzoonosis (cats).
Ticks are scary, so please heed the advice I gave in my first two blog posts so that you never get tick fever. Here's what you can to do for your animal friends:
- Try to keep dogs and cats away from tick-infested places like brushy fields, tall-grass meadows and forests carpeted with leaf litter. If you suspect a dog or cat has ticks, carefully groom him using a fine-toothed flea comb to dislodge unwelcome hitchhikers. Use tick collars and shampoos formulated for dogs and cats, but seek your veterinarian's advice before you use one.
- The best thing to do for animals, large or small, is remove attached ticks as soon as you find them. Because a tick’s mouthpiece is barbed, not spiraled, you needn’t ‘unscrew’ a tick to remove it. Don’t touch a match or cigarette to its backside and don’t swab it with gasoline, cooking oil, fingernail polish remover or petroleum jelly. Folk remedies irritate the tick and may cause it to inject additional toxins. And most of them plain don’t work.
- Use needle-nose tweezers, a hemostat or a commercial tick remover to grasp the tick’s mouthpiece as close to the host as possible and pull it slowly and steadily straight back. Don’t squeeze! Check to make certain its head is intact. If part of the tick's mouthpiece is imbedded in your animal's skin, carefully dig it out or take the animal to a veterinarian.
- Kill the tick by dropping it in a container of alcohol or in gasoline-laced water. Don’t try to squash it with your bare fingernails. Instead, seal the tick inside a strip of cellophane tape before crushing it.
- After removing a tick, disinfect the bite with alcohol and cover it with a dab of antibiotic ointment.
And be vigilant. There are a lot of ticks out and about this year!
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