Ticks

My ticks.

Let me show you them.

In case you were not revolted enough by my previous battle with fleas, allow me to share my current battle with ticks.

Last Sunday I went on a long hike in the Agoura Hills. I went with my love man. I also went with Jake the Dog.

At the trailhead I saw a sign about ticks. I tucked my pant legs in my socks. My love man said, “Please do not tuck your pant legs in your socks it looks godawful.” I untucked my pant legs.

But Jake the dog does not have any pant legs. He did not go running wild in the brush, but he did enjoy sniffing and peeing and walking for over two hours.

We got home. I passed a cursory tick check.

Then that night I was making dinner and felt perhaps a crawly sensation on my calf. And lo I lifted my pant leg and lo there was a tick.

I would later find out this was an American Dog Tick. From growing up in North Carolina, I am used to deer ticks. There is delightful egalitarianism in the world of ticks because although the dog tick is nigh unto three times the size of a deer tick the response they evoke is dead equal.

And I said, “Dear love man willyoupleasegetthatoffofmekthx.” We flushed it down the toilet.

Later on we found another one crawling across the kitchen floor. Today I know her markings meant she was a she. Tick education. She looked sluggish. It made her extra easy to also flush down the toilet.

Today I know that flushing ticks down the toilet doesn’t kill them. Today I know a lot of things, because today I did a lot of Googling, because last night I found another one on my pant leg, and today I found two more dead on the kitchen floor.

TICK FACTS:

– Jake’s Comfortis is flea prevention, not tick prevention. More on this in a second. (Fortunately Gus the Cat’s Revolution is tick control, although any bloodstream-based tick control works only on ticks that have bitten.)
– Remove a tick with tweezers, grasping as close to the skin as possible. Pull slowly like the tick is a truck you’re backing up. A truck full of disease. I hate ticks.
– Kill a tick by dropping it in a jar of alcohol. Don’t squish it — that leaks disease. You can flush it to put it out of your life, but be advised that you have missed a valuable opportunity to kill it to death.
– Wash your hands and tweezers and everything else with soap and water and rubbing alcohol is also helpful.

Regarding Comfortis: some Googling reveals a claim that Comfortis may work on ticks, but it hasn’t undergone study. Speculation is fun! For what it’s worth, I haven’t found any ticks attached to Jake — and five days after exposure to them, surely they’d be nice and plump and easy to find (HOPE YOU AREN’T EATING OR ANYTHING RIGHT NOW.) I’ve just found ones crawling away from him, or dead.

In any event, I called my vet, who recommends a prescription tick collar for cases like mine (the ticks come from occasional hikes, not just the backyard.) The idea is that you put the collar on your dewg the night before, leave it on during the hike, and the ticks opt to stay on the grass and wait for a better candidate.

Considering that neither Frontline nor Comfortis for dogs will keep Jake from bringing ticks into the house, it seems like the best bet. And there’s something to be said for a medicine you apply only when you need.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

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