Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Tick

I'm writing this post a day in advance because tomorrow is dog show day. Yay! Today was bath day. Boo. It was also tick removal day. I check the dogs pretty religiously whenever we get back from a walk but apparently I missed one, I think because it was sitting under Raimi's collar and when I check I do it at the back door and I guess his collar was still on. I looked at the photos I took of him yesterday and sure enough it was there yesterday afternoon so from now on I'll be checking and double checking with and without collars. Here's the photo from yesterday ... how did I miss this sucker?
See it there on his neck between the folds of skin? Let's not dwell on his throatiness, hmmm?
Well, since we took a walk in the woods today I did a triple quadruple check and discovered this blood thirsty sucker on him. It's the first 'engorged' tick I've seen so I was a bit grossed out but since there is no one else to remove it I was elected by default. They really are horrible little things - and by 'little' I mean grotesquely, unusually huge.  
Removing a tick is no small feat but I am becoming quite the dab hand at it. I'm not saying I relish the idea that my proficiency at tugging a blood filled parasite out of the skin of one of my dogs is improving, just that it's something that I'm becoming less squeamish about. Now, if said tick was on *me* things will likely take a turn for the worse (in the form of hysteria and dry heaves). 

The tick actually came off relatively easily which leads me to believe that it was pretty much ready to leave go at any time anyway.  My main concern about these guys is Lyme disease which causes arthritic like symptoms but can be treated with anti-biotics if caught quickly. Ticks usually need to be on the animal for at least 24 hours before they can transfer the disease so if removed quickly they pose little harm except perhaps fine tuning my gag reflex. Anyway, this tick was clearly on Raimi for more than 24 hours (yes, we can all shudder that he slept on my bed last night with that attached to him) so I'll keep an eye on him but otherwise he seems no worse from his little hitch-hiker's attention. Said stow-away is currently surfing the sewer lines.  

I can safely note, after this experience, that Leeloo and Archer's(from last year) ticks were definitely quite recent attachments and thus their timely removal leaves a very small window for disease.  They were *much* harder to remove that Raimi's. 

In future, if I'm feeling a little squeamish about removing a tick, I'll grip that sucker tightly between the tweezer tips, close my eyes and utter the rebel yell ...  

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