Tick talk: Clear up client misconceptions

You know that only a veterinarian should remove ticks from pets. But do your clients know?
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Apr 01, 2010

Clients can get downright creative in their tick-removal methods. And there are plenty of myths about the right way to remove those pesky little critters. That's why Dr. Fred Metzger, DABVP, says he recommends that clients bring their pets to the veterinary hospital for tick removal if possible. "We know how to do it. Plus, we can reevaluate a client's tick prevention program, determine whether a Lyme vaccination is needed, discuss testing for tick-borne diseases, and evaluate whether antibiotics might be needed," says Dr. Metzger, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and owner of Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa.

One of the biggest myths among clients is that they should kill the tick themselves as soon as they find one on their pet. Fact: It's best to not kill the tick, because if the veterinarian safely removes it within 24 hours of attachment, the risk of transmission of tick-borne diseases is very low. "Trying to burn the tick or apply nail polish remover is a bad idea and may actually cause the tick to inject bacteria into the patient," Dr. Metzger says. "It doesn't help and could hurt your pet."

The best advice: Encourage your clients to visit your practice so you can safely remove the pest.