Paralysis ticks are potentially devastating parasites but they are, unfortunately, a part of life in Brisbane.
The tick preventatives available these days are extremely effective, nigh on 100% in fact, but still we recommend daily tick searches. They don't take long, they are an enjoyable way to bond with your dog and the consequences of tick paralysis are such that we never want to become complacent.
To us, it makes sense to do these searches in the evening since dogs and cats are most likely to pick ticks up during the day when they are active and outside.
TICK SEARCHING TECHNIQUE
“let your fingers do the walking”, ie search by feel, not by sight - your fingertips are very sensitive so they will feel even the smallest tick
Be systematic - you need to know which parts of your dog you have and haven’t searched
Search from the shoulders forward first. Most ticks (90% in cats, 70% in dogs) will be found here. Other key areas are between the toes, in the groin and armpits and under the tail.
Don’t forget the sneaky flap on the outside edge of your dog’s ear.
HOW TO REMOVE A TICK
Ticks cement themselves into the skin so pulling them out can be hard, and painful. Twisting the tick is the least painful way to remove them - you will need to rotate them fully at least 3-4 times.
You should find that you can easily grasp large ticks with your fingers but if they are small you will need tweezers or a tick hook.
Tiny nymphs (baby ticks) can be only 1mm diameter and are too small to twist so you will just have to pull these straight out.
HELP US HELP YOU - ONCE YOU HAVE REMOVED THE TICK PUT IT IN A SEALED CONTAINER OR TAKE A PHOTO SO WE CAN IDENTIFY IT!
WHAT IS A TICK CRATER?
A tick crater is the painful lump that is left after a tick is removed or drops off. It usually has a small indentation at the top where the tick head was attached. If you find a tick crater, you need to seek veterinary advice, just as you do should you find a tick.
A FEW (Dangerous) MYTHS TO DEBUNK
You do not need to kill the tick first - attempting to do so may harm your dog and it also means that the tick will have longer to inject toxin into them
It does not matter if you leave some of the tick in your dog. The worst that can happen is a mild infection, at least once it is dead it will not be injecting poison into your dog.