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D2003-13

Dear Daisy Dog

I’m having trouble removing ticks from our collie-shep, Sheeba. When I use tweezers, the body comes off, but the head remains embedded in her skin.

My friend said ticks are easier to remove if you first kill them with a lighted match, but I’m afraid I’ll burn Sheeba.
What technique do you recommend?

Daisy Responds

Aack! Matches are for lighting the fire we like to sleep by, not for burning us!

Not only can matches set our hair afire, but burning ticks irritates them enough that they regurgitate their gut contents – including any infectious organisms like Lyme bacteria – into our bodies.

A better technique for removing ticks is to use an inexpensive tick spoon or tick spatula, available through your veterinarian or pet supply store. Slide the instrument under the tick until the tick is caught at the end of the slit. Continue moving the instrument forward to remove the tick, which will be left on the spoon or spatula.

An alternative is to don thin latex gloves and pluck the tick with your gloved fingers.

Dispose of the tick without touching it. Some of the infectious organisms that ticks carry can penetrate intact skin, so wash your hands afterwards.

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