Sunday, November 30, 2014

What do ticks look like?

Tick in situ on a dog. This is an engorged tick, note the enormous sac. The mouthparts are attached to the skin.

One of the common questions asked by clients is what does a tick look like when it’s on a dog? It’s an important question as ticks are nasty and paralysis ticks can kill dogs and cats. But there are also some cases of mistaken identity – I’ve known some people mistake scabs, warts and nipples for ticks, with some disastrous consequences.

A tick in the hand.
So here are some ticks in situ. The engorged ticks tend to be easier to spot, as they are bigger.

Ticks are often found in hard to groom places – around the face, ears, head and neck, as well as between the toes. But really they can be anywhere. Dogs and cats in tick areas should be searched regularly for ticks, even when on tick prevention. And tick prevention saves lives.

Ticks between toes. These can be tricky for dogs to remove themselves.
Make sure you use a product that is REGISTERED for use in the species you apply it to. Remember that dog tick products can contain chemicals (especially permethrin) that are incredibly toxic to cats. There have been quite a few cases lately where cats have been exposed to these products by keeping close company with dogs treated with these products (e.g. mutual grooming). Unfortunately our evidence suggests that point of sale information from pet shops is not always accurate in regard to safety of tick products in cats. If in doubt, or if using a new product, ask your vet first.