Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tick Alert: It's a Conversation if You're Listening

The only way to ever learn anything is by listening, observing and paying attention.


Yesterday, when I was petting Cookie she seemed unusually reactive to touch around her right flank. She'd twist her hip toward me, look in that direction and lick air.

I know she's painful in that area now but this wasn't a pain response.

I figured she was itchy in there somewhere. I rubbed the area and she seemed happy with that. However, next time I touched her there, she had the same response.

Did she have a really itchy spot?

The only time Jasmine reacted in a similar way was when she had a skin infection at the base of her tail. So I looked through carefully, smelled it all over and didn't smell anything suspicious. Ran my hands through the fur and didn't feel anything suspicious.

There was no smell, no oozing, no flaking, no matted hair though she was shedding a bit. I FURminated her and she seemed to like that a lot. Got the loose hairs out but it still didn't seem to fix it.

"Did you catch a flea at the vet?" I asked jokingly because that was the only explanation left I could think of.

 I kept running my hands over her, parting her hair and trying to look and feel for things. Then I came across something stuck in the fur. For a moment it looked like one of the burs we have around here which look a little bit like a tiny little seed but do have a prickly end. Cookie is often covered with them. Other burs don't stick to her but these do and require manual removal. It seemed as if one of those got really into the skin. But while they can get deep into the fur, actually sticking into the skin would be unusual.

Before trying to pull it out, I figured I'd better make sure that's what it is.

Because it was so tiny, I put on my glasses, grabbed a flash light and a magnifying glass.

It wasn't a bur, it was a tick!

It was relatively tiny, probably an adult that was not engorged yet. I went to grab my trusty Tick Twister and got the sucker out. Drowned it in rubbing alcohol and rubbed some on the bite wound too.

Cookie stayed still for the whole procedure, happy that we found what was bothering her and took care of it.

Thank you, Cookie, for letting us know. Good girl.

We do check our dogs for ticks and bumps regularly but lately, with everything what was going on, as well with the rather cold weather, we slacked off a bit. Plus I doubt we'd feel it in the thick fur without knowing where to look because it was so small. But with Cookie's help we found it.

Most importantly, I believed her when she was telling me something was bothering her there.


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