How To Identify An Embedded Tick On Your Dog
At Bubble Pawz®, we often have customers come to us with questions about ticks. These little parasites can prove very dangerous to your pets, and especially to dogs. It's crucial that ticks are quickly removed after you find them on your pet. What does an embedded tick look like on a dog? Read on for our handy information.
What does an embedded tick look like on a dog?
As ticks will never completely embed themselves under the skin, they can easily pass off as moles or skin tags. Embedded ticks usually are oval shaped, firm, dark red or brown, and have no hairs growing out of them, while moles and skin tags tend to be irregular, soft, and lighter-coloured. Ticks tend to settle in your dog's skin folds, facial or groin area or abdomen, whereas moles usually appear on the face and back. Once you identify a tick, you'll be able to tell it's embedded if its capitulum, or mouthpiece, is not visible. If the tick's not engorged, its scutum and legs will still be visible. An engorged tick, or one that has fed, will have its capitulum completely embedded in the skin and their legs held underneath the body. They're more likely to be confused with a mole or skin tag.
The Danger Of Embedded Ticks
All ticks pose risks to your dog. If they carry a pathogen, they can easily transmit disease, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease. While your dog will usually remove an attached tick through scratching and biting, embedded ticks are much more difficult to remove. Once a tick embeds in the skin, it can potentially attach itself long enough - at least 36 hours - to spread disease. Embedded ticks can also cause local allergic reactions, with the surrounding skin swelling and causing pain. Infections can also arise if an embedded tick isn't removed properly. In the case of an infection, your dog will need antibiotics and potentially surgical removal.
I've found an embedded tick on my dog - what do I do?
Embedded ticks aren't easy to remove. You can either take your dog to the vet or try to remove the tick yourself. Follow these handy steps to remove ticks from your dog: - Wear gloves: Trust us, you don't want a tick! - Prepare your tools: Either tweezers or special removal tools work best. - Grab the tick: Get as close as possible to your dog's skin, making sure you grab the mouthparts and not the abdomen. - Pull: Firmly yank out the tick - don't twist, just pull! If the mouthparts stay embedded under the skin, you can use a sterile needle to remove them - but if you don't feel comfortable doing this, contact your vet. - Throw it away: While you might be tempted just to throw the tick outside, the tick will just look for another source of food. Finish the job by drowning the tick in alcohol or acetone. - Disinfect: Clean the bitten area. - Watch your dog: If your dog starts acting strangely or the site looks infected, contact your vet.