Question: I just found a tick on my dog. Can I get sick from ticks, and what about my dog? How do I remove the tick?

Answer: I understand the concern in your questions; this is a serious problem and very common this time of year. There are 90 different types of ticks in the United States, and the most common are Deer ticks, Brown Dog ticks, American Dog ticks, Lone Star ticks, Rocky Mountain Wood ticks, and Blacklegged ticks. These ticks can make your pet sick, but they can also make you sick. There are many illnesses that we can get from ticks, and the most common is Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Tularemia. If you have found ticks on your pet or yourself, and you feel ill in any way, call your doctor right away.

To remove a tick from your pet, you should first wear gloves. If the tick is crawling on the skin, you can just pick it off with a pair of tweezers and put it on a piece of tape, and discard it. If it is embedded, it is a little more involved to remove. When ticks attach, they lock their jaws to suck blood for their meal; if you apply the tweezers from their top and bottom and flip them over on their back, their jaws will unlock, and you can gently pull them loose without leaving the head in the skin. I know this sounds difficult, but it is actually easy and efficient. If you are uneasy about doing this, we at Springboro Veterinary Hospital are glad to do it for you.

A question that you did not ask is how can this be prevented? There are many products on the market, and the ones we recommend are Frontline topical ointment or NexGard oral chewable pills. They are both given monthly, and they also kill fleas.

This is the time of year we are all outside more with our pets. Yes, they are more exposed, but having them on a monthly preventative will keep them and us safe.