I climb on hairy creatures and humans and suck their blood to quench my thirst. They don’t always see me bouncing around with my mates, because I am a small brown parasitic organism. I carry dreadful diseases like Lyme disease, tularaemia and anaplasmosis. What am I?
Correct! The answer to the riddle is: A Tick (TICKet to trouble)
Did you know?
There are more than 800 species of ticks throughout the world. Two families of ticks, Ixodidae (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks) cause illnesses like tick bite fever.
3 Tick bite fever facts
- Being bitten by ticks usually peak during warmer months and occur during outdoor activities. Both humans and pets can fall prey to these little buggers and at risk of getting tick bite fever.
- Symptoms of tick bite fever in humans may include a black mark on the skin, fever, headache, malaise and a skin rash. Symptoms usually start showing about 5-7 days after the tick bite occurs. Your pets however might only start showing signs after a few weeks. These include a loss of appetite, weakness, pale gums and fever.
- Tick bite fever can be treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline. Some people and pets however are not able to take doxcycline, in which case chloramphenicol, or sometimes ciprofloxacin, may be used instead. Your doctor or vet would know the best treatment option for you and your pet’s specific health needs.
How to remove ticks from pets?
- Using tweezers, grab the tick by the head or mouth and not the body. (You don’t want the head to detach from the body and to stay stuck in the flesh of your pet).
- Without jerking or twisting, slowly pull the tick until it detaches from your pet.
Note: Don’t use petroleum jelly, a hot match, or alcohol. That doesn’t work!
- After removing the tick, place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it (or squash it!).
WARNING: Don’t flush ticks down the toilet, because they will survive the journey through the sewerage pipes.
- Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant and wash your hands with some Dettol soap.
How can you prevent ticks from sucking blood?
Speak to your vet about a suitable tick-&-flea treatment from your best bud…especially warmer months approach. If you and your pets spend a lot of time outdoors in rural areas, you should check for ticks before you return indoors. Ticks are sneaky little buggers and they will hide in odd places like in ears, paws or under the chin and eyes of your barking buddy.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when hiking. Some insect repellents can also be sprayed to prevent ticks from hopping onto you and your furry friends.
What to do if you suspect that you or your pet might have tick bite fever?
Tick bite fever is no joke and definitely not a walk in the park. Consult your doctor or your vet if you suspect that you or your pet might be at risk.
Protect your BFF – get dotsure.co.za Pet Insurance
dotsure.co.za’s covers unexpected vet visits caused by these nasty little buggers (with the exception of the Accidental plan) . If you suspect tick bite fever, visit your vet. Uninsured or covered under the Accidental Plan? Speak to us.