Not a pleasant task

  • Dealing with ticks, which attach themselves to your pets, can be a chore

When you deal with pets there are a number of pleasant duties like walking the dogs in the countryside, and unpleasant tasks like dealing with ticks which are around at this time of the year. One of our cats has just come home with one.

I recall a time some years ago when I spent four days living in a slum in Naples researching a film and occupying a shack with a charming illiterate family and in my spare time attempting to improve the lot of their animals. Getting a good second-hand saddle from the street market was easy. It fitted the donkey and I showed them how to use it so the donkey suffered no sores. Building a larger cage for the birds was not difficult but the really unpleasant task was removing the numerous ticks on the dogs. That really made me feel queasy. They are such revolting creatures. I showed the family how to do the task and explained that they suck blood from the dogs.

Ticks are tiny spider like creatures which are difficult to spot in the early stage. However when they take a hefty blood meal from your pet they can grow up to fifty times their normal size and look like a large greyish white pea. That is usually when the pet owner becomes aware of them. They are not to be ignored and should be removed. The way I deal with them is to dab them with a cloth or cotton wool soaked with alcohol like gin. Leave the tick for two minutes so it releases its grip on the skin then using tweezers pull them off and burn them. Do not throw them away as they recover to infect another animal. Dab the infected spot on the skin with Betadol. You can buy special removing tweezers at your vet or pet shop.

It is a good idea to purchase at the same place a tick collar which protects your pet. Get a good collar which has Amitraz like Scalibor. Avoid cheap alternatives. Pets have an irritating habit of removing the collar by pawing and they are usually lost. Here is a useful tip: on the loose end of the collar past the buckle apply glue and hold it against the main collar until the glue dries.