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Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that most of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinary medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.
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tick removal
by Daniel
tick removalMy malt picked up 2 ticks while in the yard today somehow. I tried to remove the first one and couldn't get it all and it looks like the head of the tick is still there. Now I don't know what to do. The other one is still there and I haven't touched it yet but want to get it off him. What am I doing wrong here. I need help. I have a book on fleas and ticks but no mention of how to remove it??


Your best bet would be to go to the vet and let them show you how to do it. At least call and tell them about the head that got under the skin. The vet can tell you what to do if anything. I will try to describe tick removal, but for those who have never done it, I recommend asking the vet or a groomer to show you first: Wet the tick with alcohol or a dab of tick killer spray on a cotton ball(I like Adams personally). This will hopefully kill the tick and make it easier to remove. Use tweezers to grab it by the head as close to the skin as possible with a firm, but not too tight, grip. The idea is to pull it out without crushing it or squeezing its body. You want to pull straight out with a slow steady motion -- no twisting or yanking. Drop the tick into a cup of alcohol to kill it. Do NOT crush it with your fingers, as this increases the risk of disease spread. If you see those tiny deer ticks (fully engorged they are about the size of a sesame seed), you are better off just getting a dip or bath, as they are too hard to find and remove usually. These transmit Lyme disease, so if you see the tiny ones, make sure to tell the vet so they can keep an eye out for symptoms.

It is best to prevent ticks from getting into the skin in the first place. The season has started early here in the Northeast, so all you Frontline users, start now! Check for ticks at least once a day, especially after walking near grassy wooded areas. Don't forget betwen the toes, under the earflaps, and under the chin. It takes a while for a tick to take hold, so if you check every time you walk the dog, you can often find them before they have burrowed into the skin when they are easy to remove.

Daniel, I hope I am remembering this right, I used to have a real tick problem living overseas with big dogs. Dip a Q-Tip in alcohol and place on the tick, he should back right out. The head that's left in may be another problem. It should fester up some and come out, hopefully not creating a problem, but I would keep a close eye on it and call a vet if anything doesn't look right. Good Luck!
Robin K.
I suggest you take her to the vet and have him show you how to remove them completely. It can be difficult depending on how long the tick has actually been there. Check with your vet but I find methylated spirits is rather helpful, the tick starts backing out and then it is easier to grab (use tweezers). If you have ticks in the yard you should be checking everyday thoroughly. I go to the country on weekends and still check my Maltese mid-morning and bedtime everyday (even though he is protected with Frontline spot-on) which I have found to be the best thus far for ticks. But I feel these products are not a 100% guarantee.
In the spring & summer I usually check as soon as I come in...the old wives tale is to put vasolene on the tick. This smothers it and they back out so you can take tweezers to remove. I try to get as close to the ticks head as possible and gently remove it. Then I clean the area very well. I've never had a problem but if you think the head is still there get your Malt to a vet. It can cause trouble.
Libby & Buster
Daniel: I'm no expert, but, there are so many ways to remove a tick. But first of all, don't worry about the head being stuck in your dog, I know what you are going through because it happened to me. The vet told me to get a good hang on it with a tweezer, (yeah, easier said then done) when I pulled it out, the head was stuck above Taffy's eyelid! I felt so panicky, I couldn't call the vet because it was about 12 at night, because I had to wait to do this ordeal when Taffy was asleep, out cold for obvious reasons! In the morning I called the vet, the nurse told me, "don't worry it will come out by itself, it will dry up, nature has a way of foreign matter disappearing." I was relieved. Now, their are so many products you can buy to kill those suckers! Or your Vet can give your dog a pill once a month, their are flea and tick baths, sprays, I use Hartz flea & Tick Killer. Spray that little sucker, in 5 min. in dead! If your have a big problem with ticks in your neighborhood, let you Vet. suggest what he thinks would be the best for your dog. So Daniel, don't panic, it will come out by itself.
Margaret & Taffy
I use tweezers, never use your fingers, because people get lyme disease too! After you get it out, clean with peroxide ! Good luck !
Oh how I hate those little creatures, Thank God haven't had a problem with ticks, But I always heard if you used alcohol they would release the grip on the dog. Hope this helps.
You do not say if you live in Australia but we have what is known as the paralysis tick and you must get this off your dog.. Kill the tick with fly spray or any spray or dip that is used for ticks.. Leave for 10 mins for the tick to die if you start to pull the tick out straight away it will inject more poison..place your thumb and first finger on either side of the tick pinching down, give a quick half twist, it should pop out.. otherwise use tweezers.. If in Australia make sure your maltese is walking ok and not off balance.Any signs of any problems get to your vet fast. The paralysis Tick can kill fast . Death results from lung congestion and paralysis of the respiratory muscles.
Regarding flea spray and dip...NEVER use stuff off the grocery shelves PLEEAASE no Hartz and definitely NO dip, always use ONLY water soluable flea spray on your Maltese, like Adams or Mycodex, Ovitrol, better yet, don't let them get Flea. Spray your yard and house, wash bedding frequently !
Renee H
Dear Hilary-You have just singlehandedly totally convinced me to NEVER visit Australia.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and help. I printed it all out and got out the tweasers and alcohol and No more tic. I got the rest of that 1st. one too. Mucho gracias!!

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