Ask Henry

Cat Scratching

Q: I live near a wooded area and find ticks on my dogs all the time. What is the best way to remove a tick?

A: Since you live in an area where tick exposure is a risk, it is very important that your pets be on monthly tick prevention. Tick borne diseases can be transmitted within 24 hours of a tick bite, so prevention is key. Your veterinarian will know the best product for you and your pets.

If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible using these steps:

  1. Have someone hold your pet while you remove the tick.
  2. Using a pair of tweezers, grasp
  3. the tick at the level of your
  4. pet’s skin.
  5. Pull the tick straight out with a steady motion, and do not twist. Doing otherwise may result in leaving the tick’s mouthparts behind, which can cause irritation and infection.
  6. Place the tick in a jar with rubbing alcohol to kill it. This will also preserve the tick for testing in case your pet begins to show signs of disease.
  7. Spray the affected area with an antiseptic and watch for redness, pain or swelling, which are signs of infection.
  8. Visit your veterinarian if you are worried that you may have left part of the tick in your pet’s skin, or if you are worried about attempting the tick removal on your own.
  9. Monitor your pet for signs of a tick-borne disease, which include: painful legs, fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Visit your veterinarian as soon as any of these symptoms occur.

Q: My dogs are outside a lot during the day and are current on their flea prevention, but my cats are indoors only. Do they need to be on flea prevention medicine as well?

A: All animals in your home need to be on flea prevention in order to avoid having a flea infestation. Most flea prevention is effective once the flea bites your pet and ingests the product that is circling in your pet’s bloodstream. However, the fleas that come into your home on your dog, or even on your clothing, can continue to survive on any pet not on flea prevention medicine.

Dr. Johansen
Helping Henry this month Is Dr. Johansen from Sugar Hill Animal Hospital Dr. Johansen received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and Georgia Veterinary Medical Association. She has been the President of the Gwinnett County Veterinary Medical Association since 2014.

Q: I have been noticing this black dust in my pet’s fur and my friend says it is flea dirt. What is flea dirt?

A: Flea dirt appears as small, black specks on your pet’s fur and is a surefire way to know that your pet has a flea infestation. In reality, flea dirt is the flea’s feces that consists of your pet’s digested blood. If you notice that your pet has flea dirt, visit your veterinarian to find out what flea prevention is recommended.


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