Tick, tick, ... it's that time again in Costa Rica

We have observed that in Costa Rica soon after a summer rain or at the beginning of the Emerald season that the local tick population exhibits a marked rise of activity. This year seems no exception. Whenever there is a rain day in summer, we are sure to find more ticks on the dogs. 

The ones pictured above I recently extracted from our Border Collie, Buster. They're enjoying the Big Sleep in a bit of naptha (lighter fluid).

Though it may be old hat to folks who have pets and live here or another area of the world where ticks are common, I think it's worth repeating: Ticks carry diseases, so it's important to check your animals regularly and use preventatives and repellents. It is not uncommon here for pets to contract something lethal from ticks, such as erlichia.  Tick inspection is not an easy job for dogs with thick coats like Buster, but we can usually find them by feel. It's important to check less obvious places such as the ears, between the toes and the tail and anal area.

There really is only one good way to remove them, especially if they've been in long enough to embed their mouth parts into the skin. That is, to use some twisting device, such as pictured below. There are some of these that are more like tweezers that will work in really tight places (one time we had to extract one from our puppy's nostril!). Always twist counter-clockwise.

You can pull them out with regular tweezers or your fingernails, but you risk leaving mouth parts embedded in the skin, which can infect the animal. If you pull on a tick, you can easily put pressure on its abdomen, which risks injecting the pet with even more disease-carrying organisms the tick is carrying.

All the hearsay remedies for tick extraction (covering with oil, kerosene, burning, etc.) are not always effective and at any rate take a long time during which you could have just taken the beastie out mechanically.

We also apply Revolution monthly on our pets and during bad tick periods we spray their coats with a dilution of Bañol (Amitraz) about twice a week. This repels as well as knocks off any ticks that are already on.

So, keep those pets healthy! Give them a check-over today.     - Ciao cacao

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Thanks so much for your comment! - Casey