Thursday 9 February 2023

Should I remove a tick from my cat as soon as possible?

Yes, ticks should be removed as soon as possible. What I like about this photograph - even though it is ugly because of the fact that there are tics attached to this cat's ear - is that it shows you where tics often end up on cats which is, as mentioned, inside the ear flaps. 

I guess this is a convenient height for a tick because they sit on long grass and then crawl off the grass onto a cat that has perhaps been sitting in the grass for a while. Or they are passing through slowly.

Ticks on a cat's ear flap
Ticks on a cat's ear flap. Image: u/PrashantThapliyal

The ticks walked off the grass onto the cat and attached themselves to the insides of the ear in this case. This particular cat has several tics. Perhaps he or she goes to the same place outside the home all the time and it happens to be a place where there is an infestation of ticks.

The owner asks on social media what they are and what to do about them and whether he should remove them.

This leads me to the next issue. Ticks should be removed quickly. In fact, an owner should check their cat at convenient moments if they are an inside/outside cat. What I mean they should be checked at any convenient moment when the caregiver is handling their cat or interacting with their cat in some way including petting.

Lyme Disease in Cats (reinforcing an indoor lifestyle).

It's important because studies have shown that infected deer ticks (infected with the species of bacteria that causes Lyme disease - Borrelia burgdorferi) begin to transmit the bacteria to the host after they've been attached for 36-48 hours.

This means that there is a window of opportunity between the time that they became attached to their host and the beginning of the time when they deliver the bacteria to the host in their saliva. And that window is around 36-48 hours.

If you remove a tick within that timeframe there is very little chance of the host contracting Lyme disease.

Anyone removing a tick should wear gloves and avoid touching the tick with bare hands. They should wash their hands after disposing of the tick in a jar of alcohol. This is because the aforesaid disease can be transmitted to humans just as easily as it can be to cats or any other animal who is the host for this ectoparasite.

"Although deer ticks have been identified in every U.S. state except Hawaii, they are most commonly found along the eastern coast of the United States from Florida to Maine and as far west as Texas. They are also located in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwest United States." - Tick Check website.

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