Lyme Disease is so called because of an outbreak of uncommon arthritis symptoms in children and adults in the Lyme area of Connecticut, USA in 1975. Two years later, ticks were linked to the disease.

Lyme disease infection in dogs, which can become apparent long after a tick bite, include swollen, painful joints, lameness, fever, malaise, enlarged lymph nodes and occasionally eye, kidney and heart problems.

Although diagnosis is difficult to establish with certainty, treatment with antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin is usually effective.

In endemic areas around 75% of dogs will be infected but only around 5-10% become unwell.

What is the best way to remove a tick from a dog?

First of all I can advise you not to douse it with petrol (keep for lawnmower), spirit (use for paint brush cleaning), whisky (drink it yourself), nail varnish (save it for the weekend), or Vaseline (em…).

If you do anything horrible to an embedded tick it will grip hold with its mouthparts, making it more likely that these are subsequently left in the dog, and it will vomit anti-coagulant into the patient, resulting in increased chance of disease transmission. So, similarly, do not burn it, squash it or pull at it.

  1. Make absolutely sure that it is a tick and not a skin tag or suchlike.
  2. Get a  hooked tick remover.
  3. Gently slide it under the tick and turn it continuously (don’t pull!) until the tick comes away.
  4. About two per cent of ticks carry Lyme Disease so don’t then pulverise it to death, potentially spreading bugs everywhere! We have a tick bin at work, which is a container filled with spirit into which they are deposited. You might put it in an old pill bottle, jar or zip poly bag and put it in the bin or flush it down the loo.
  5. Now, wash your hands.

Since most diseases are transmitted more than 24 hours after ticks attach, daily checking is required. Better still, control ticks with a modern, prescription only, effective product as recommended by your vet. In my experience, over the counter products do not work very well, if at all.