Ticks (Ixodes species) are parasites that attach to an animal (the host) and bury their mouthparts below the skin and drink blood. They can affect both dogs and cats but rarely are animals infected with the dog-specific tick. The most common ticks that attach are actually the sheep (Ixodes ricinus) and hedgehog (Ixodes hexagonus) tick. They are often picked up by animals walking in long grass and are less common in the winter.
When taking a blood meal, ticks transfer saliva to the pet so a localised bacterial infection may occur at the site of attachment and ultimately with a high tick burden, anaemia may ensue. Due to the exchange in bodily fluids ticks are an important factor in the transmission of Lymes disease, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis.
Eggs are laid by the female in the environment, the larval ticks that then hatch attach to a small host, feed and then drop off into the environment again. They then evolve into a nymph and feed on a slightly bigger host and again then drop off into the environment. They change again this time into an adult and climb up onto taller vegetation for a bigger host such as a sheep, deer or dog.
The only way to safely remove a tick is using a tick removing devise as this is the only method that ensures the full tick is removed. If you use tweezers at home then the mouth part is often left behind which can cause an infection.
We reccommend The O'TOM® hook (also marketed under the trademark "TICK TWISTER®" ) it is a plastic ‘L’ shaped device that the tick is slid onto and easily twisted off. There are two different sizes of O'TOM® hook according to the size of tick so both should be kept handy.
Trix Tick Lasso apparently provides a semi automatic method of correctly gripping the tick. Placement and slight pressure of the tip into the skin are the only requirements as the lasso pulls the tool into the correct position automatically.