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Living in the country and owning several dogs, ticks are sadly not an uncommon squatter in my house. I have tried many things over the years to remove them, from tweezers, neem oil, vaseline etc. My dogs are treated with Frontline, but they do still get ticks, as the ticks dont die until the dog's blood gets into their system and the Frontline poisons them, taking up to 48 hours.
My Springer Spaniel recently had a large tick on her. This tick was in her armpit, and I noticed she was scratching, had a look and found the blighter. I smothered it with Vaseline, and waited for it to die. But when it died I had trouble getting it out, and had a grumpy dog at the end of 10 minutes of carefully prizing the dead tick out of her skin, as his head was embedded quite deep. This worried me that bacteria could have been pushed into my dog's skin. So I decided there must be another way to remove ticks, and hunted online.
Ta-da! On Amazon I discovered the O'Tom Tick twisters, which come in a pack of two, and are advertised to 'Enable painless, quick, and complete removal of ticks from your animal's skin.' At only £3.80, I decided that it was worth trying, so purchased a pair. One thing to note, is that on Amazon, these are an add-on item, so can not be purchased alone. (I treated myself to a new pair of garden shears at the same time, so that my order would go over £10 and qualify me to purchase the tick removers as well, and get free delivery.)
Today we went for a walk in the woods, and my Golden Retriever came back with a tick on her face, where she had been nosing around in bracken, on the scent of something. I was annoyed to see a tick on her, but excited to try out my new gadgets! I went to fetch the packet and read the instructions.
The tick twisters are made of green plastic, are lightweight at only 9g and approx 2 inches long. They are dishwasher safe. They have a handle which is easy to hold, then a thinner section, followed by the hook at the bottom to remove the tick. There is a slit where the tick goes (as seen in the picture above).
Using the tick twisters is very simple. Simply select the size of tick twister (there are two sizes in a pack, so small or large ticks), slide it along under the tick's body, so that it is in the slit, and twist. I was amazed when I lifted the tick remover, and away came the tick. No pain, no effort, no upset. Then it was time to kill the tick, and I happily squashed the thing. Problem Solved!
If your pet ever gets ticks, then make sure you have a pack of these!!
With Thomas we never experienced a problem with ticks. Even though we lived right by a river and certainly in his younger days he was always down there exploring I dont think he ever had a tick bless him. However, my Nans dog had experienced ticks in the past and I was aware she was finding it quite difficult to remove them when he did get them.
When Tigger moved himself in with mum and dad as he was from the next road along he too was quite familiar with the river. He began getting ticks regularly so when my Mum saw this O'Tom tick remover on the vets counter she bought one immediately to use on Tigger. She paid something like £3 for it and they usually come in packs of 2.
Ticks are a parasite that animals can pick up along their travels. They are mainly found in places where there are lots of long grasses and bushes etc. It is important ticks are removed as soon as possible because they can easily spread disease and infection and in the long term this can begin to affect your pets organs etc so they really are a nasty little bug.
A common problem with ticks is that you can sometimes remove half the tick whilst leaving half still in the skin of the animal. The tick can carry on living so therefore you dont solve the problem at at and instead make it worse as there is no way of getting the remaining half out.
The two tick removers are infact different sizes. There is a large one for removing human ticks (I had no idea people could get ticks but never mind) and a small one for use on animals.
In total we have used the remover on Tigger about 8 times. Tigger is notorious for kicking up a fuss when it comes to combing or administering any medication so to be honest we did dread using this initially. However, the remover is designed so it is quick and pain free and Tigger hardly notices when it is used. Tiggers last tick was a couple of weekends ago. It was quite a big one but we still used the smaller hook. We simply pushed the hook onto the part of the tick that was out of the skin and gave the hook quite a firm tug. The entire tick came out whole and Tigger didnt even flinch.
Although initially the price does seem a little bit high for a piece of plastic this product really is invaluable. It removes ticks in a matter of seconds and most importantly it is pain free for your pet. We have used it numerous times and it is still in perfect condition and in all honesty I doubt we will ever need to buy another one in Tiggers lifetime or the lifetime of Duke and Daisy. It is an invaluable product that I would recommend all pet owners keep in the cupboard just incase.
As I am sure most of you know by now we have a gorgeous white cat called Mew who adopted us when we moved into our cottage here on the Great Orme in Llandudno. Since the Orme is a Country Park there are lots of bushes and grassy areas in which Mew can hunt and he catches all sorts of things including mice, voles and rabbits.
Now as anyone who has a hunting cat will know the downside of him providing his own food is the fact that he picks up ticks on a regular basis. I put Frontline drops on the back of his neck at the beginning of each month but he does still manage to get ticks.
When Mew does get ticks I have been using Tick Off drops to kill them (although someone on Dooyoo suggested Vaseline works just as well and I can confirm that it does!) and then removing them with my tweezers.
When we took Mew for his check up and injections last week I told the vet about the tick problem. She told me that she can provide a treatment on prescription to keep the little monsters at bay as apparently the Frontline doesn't work as well as it might after a while.
She also reminded me that I must be really careful to remove the whole tick as the mouthparts, being embedded in the skin, can remain and cause an infection. I told her that I used tweezers and she suggested a special tick remover. I had already bought one some time ago but it was worse than useless to be honest so she showed me the one that she had for sale at the surgery which was quite different.
The piece of kit in question is the O'Tom Tick Twister. The vet handed me a little plastic bag with a resealable strip across the top. This contained two Tick Twisters - one small and one larger - and a little card with instructions for use in both words and diagrams. This all cost £4.73 at the vets but can be purchased on Amazon for £4.18 with free shipping.
The Tick Twisters are lime green in colour and comprise a short handle, a couple of inches long, with a piece bent at right angles at the business end of the remover. The bent piece has a slit along the centre.
To remove the ticks they first need to be killed with Tick Off or Vaseline and then you just have to slide the Tick Twister along the cat's skin until the dead tick is caught in the slit. You then just twist the Tick Twister and the whole tick, including the dreaded mouthparts, is removed.
I thought that this sounded a bit too good to be true to be honest but I was wrong - this is brilliant!
I found a tick yesterday and put some Vaseline over it to kill it and then today decided to try the Tick Twister. I held Mew firmly and slid the twister into place, twisted and pulled and removed the whole tick in one go - I could even see his mouthparts clearly!
I am very impressed with this little gadget and would recommend it to anyone with small animals who are prone to ticks. It is easy to use and I assume that it is painless as there was no reaction from Mew.
The website at www.tick-twister.com gives a bit more information and has a short film showing exactly how to use the Tick Twister.
For as long as I can remember I've had cats in my household. As comes with the territory, they've brought home many items that have been, shall we say, not condusive to a happy place. Fleas, yep, everyone has the chance of dealing with them and products to assist the control of these is available everywhere. But ticks, now that's a different story.
I had always struggled to dispose of these from my cats. I'd been told many ways in how to deal with these unwanted pests. The last thing you need is for one to attach itself to you as this is very nasty.
I was in a local pet shop one day and came across the Tick Remover for about £3.99. For that price I couldn't lose because anything is worth a try to alleviate my cats from ticks. The tool looked very simple and a bit like a claw on a hammer. I knew one of my cats had a tick, so this was a golden oppourtunity to test the remover.
There are two sizes of tool in the pack and you must make sure to use the right one. If you don't the tick will not be removed properly and you may leave the head in the cat! The method is for you to slide the claw under the tick keeping the tool flat to the skin. Once you have the tick in the claw rotate the tool 2 - 3 times until the tick detaches itself. You then have the task of disposing of the tick which isn't nice but has to be done. Simple, all done! My cat didn't even flinch when I used it on him, and enjoyed the fuss, as per normal. I don't think he even realised I'd removed the tick it came out so easily!
Ticks can transmit infections and have hundreds of babies at a time. So the removal of these unwanted parasites is a must, especially removing the head. If left in the cat, the head can become seriously infected and a visit to the vets is inevitable.
This product is relatively cheap but is most effective and is friendly to the environment (must be why it's only in green!).
I own three cats and they've all had ticks in the past. We'd tried putting all sorts of tick removal creams and lotions on them but nothing seemed to really work until the tick just fell off.
However, we recently but the O'Tom Tick Remover as it looked like it might be a good way to remove ticks. Sure enough a few days later one of our cats got a tick and we decided to try the tick remover out.
It was reasonably easy to slot it underneath the tick to get hold of it and we moved it around a little and it just came out really easily, head still attached as well.
We immediately disposed of the tick and the cat seemed to be in absolutely no discomfort what so ever.
This handy little device has been very useful to us with our three cats and they now remain tick free far more often! A great bonus for them and for us as we dont want the ticks to attach themselves to us!
~~*~~*~~ O'Tom Tick Remover ~~*~~*~~
On the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year, Doughnut (the greatest Chocolate Lab that has ever lived) acquired her first Tick, whom I shall call Derek. It was a momentous occasion for us all but Clinton's let us down as there was no "Congratulations on your First Parasite" cards to be found. Having had Labradors before and lived in the country for god knows how long, meant that we were well prepared for the unwelcome visitor that was Derek.
Prior to Derek's arrival we had been using the 'twist the bugger and hope for the best' method or, if we could be bothered, there was some kind of tick spray lurking in the depths of the garage but that was far to much effort to use. Thus, when my mother and her learned friend were discussing the joys of dogs over their monthly 'Ladies who Lunch' and they happened upon the topic of ticks, my mother's ears pricked up somewhat considerably. The clever lady announced she'd purchased a tick remover from the vets for a pound, at which point mother flung down her half of the brie and grape baguette that they were sharing (why are mothers such cheap skates) and ran out the door, arms flailing in search of the remarkable aforementioned invention. Obviously, the latter part of this story is completely fictional but I love the idea of my mother running up the high-street in her purple cagoule looking for a magical tick remover while her friend sits open-mouthed still clutching the other half of the baguette.
Anyway, in the real world, mother did a very sensible thing and went on tinternet to find the remover - turned out the vets wanted £6 (when you share a baguette a month, you begrudge paying that amount for a piece of plastic). Thus she ordered one for her two hairy beasts and one for her beloved grandchild, Doughnut. They were £3.50 each from "Pawsability" plus £1.50 postage which meant a grand saving consequently enabling mother to buy her own baguette that month.
For those of you who have lives, feel free to skim these headings:
~~*~~ Ticks aka Derek ~~*~~
Dereks are an external parasite that belong to the order acari which have 8 legs and a non-segmented body. There are approximately 800 species ranging from 1mm to 5 cm in size though this depends on whether Derek is fed or not (only the size of the abdomen changes and their legs and head remain the same ) - the little buggers can ingest 200 - 600 times their own unfed body weight.
Dereks live in grass, undergrowth and bushes and either drop or clamber onto the host which is find by heat. They then attach themselves to the poor Doughnut shaped victim by inserting the mouth-part into the thin-skinned area, then they secrete a special substance which weakens the blood-capillaries so that Derek can have his fill once they break.
~~*~~ Evicting Derek ~~*~~
Why bother evicting an animal that will merely drop off once it's full? Well, for a start, just because Derek's had enough to drink doesn't mean he dies - he'll wander round your carpet waiting til he's hungry again and then reattach himself to the next unsuspecting victim (providing he's not been eradicated by your size 9s in the process). Secondly, as with most animals, he likes to continue the species and will mate to produce thousands of the little darlings. Notably, before anyone else comments, male Dereks don't need to eat to survive, however, the female Dereks need to be engorged to lay so technically, Derekina will be the one lying in wait for her next tea.
Even though one full Derek won't deprive your creature of so much blood that it'll die, the problem arises as more and more infest your friend so before it gets to that stage, Derek needs to be evicted. Derek not only takes, he's a giver too - he carries a number of serious diseases that can be transferred to the host: most notably are babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and Lyme's Disease in your dog, haemobartonellosis in cats and loads of weirdly named diseases in people so have no qualms in eradicating Derek and his pals.
~~*~~ The O'Tom Tick Remover ~~*~~
Within the packet which is clear and merely has one of those cardboard bits stapled to the top with O'Tom Hook Tick Twister written in green on it (I'd have preferred a case or pouch to keep them in so that when you root through the drawer on discovery of a tick, you don't accidentally empty the packet and lose them down the side of the drawer) there are 2 different sized 'hooks' - one for smaller and less engorged ticks and one for the fatties that you really should have noticed attached to your dog's head before it got to that size.
For those of you who have previously used the 'twist the bugger' method, you'll know that trying to get hold of the smaller ones is virtually impossible. The reason you should twist and not merely get out the tweezers and pull with all your mite (see what I did there?) is that the head can detach from the body and remain lodged in your pet leaving a prime opportunity for infection. By using a twisting motion, the 'spikes' that would dig in if pulled, are actually folded during rotation allowing Derek to be removed whole. Also, by using tweezers, you're squeezing the body of Derek and encouraging the back-flow of his saliva into your friend thus increasing the likelihood of infection and transmission of diseases. According the O'Tom website, many chemical substances used to remove ticks actually increase back-flow of saliva too but I don't know if that's true.
The design of O'Tom Tick Twister thing is like a two-pronged fork with the head bent at a 90 degree angle. The smaller of the two twisters is designed for ticks up to 0.15mm wide and the bigger is 0.40mm with the fork length being perfect for getting into the awkward areas that Dereks love to hide in (ears and armpits are particularly tasty apparently).
~~*~~ Use It ~~*~~
1. Locate Derek - you'll probably have found him whilst stroking your little pig but in trying to get a good look to see what you've just recoiled from, lost him and in the meantime your dog is now incredibly excited by your interest and is playing silly buggers.
2. Relocate Derek.
3. Locate O'Tom Tick Twister from bottom of drawer.
4. Relocate Derek.
5. Holding the handle between finger and thumb, place the fork end on your dogs skin so that when you slide the contraption, Derek is trapped between the two prongs.
6. Turn the twister anticlockwise slowly and miracles of miracles, Derek will release his teeth.
7. Shout "Got you, you evil parasite. No more shall you suck the blood of my precious canine"
8. Try and find Derek in your mum's expensive, multi-coloured shag pile as during your excitement you forget that he's not attached to the twister - he was still alive and merely sitting on it.
9. Find him and drown him in triumph (or if you love the critters feel free to place him outside and wish him luck on his way).
Really, it's that simple. The great thing was that once Doughnut had got over the shock of everyone poking her in disgust, she went back to sleep so whilst she was snoring away dreaming of Arnie, the attractive german shepherd cross at the park that she's got her eye on, I merely performed the in-house operation and she was none-the-wiser.
This product is clever, easy to use and fairly cheap compared to many other sprays or the vet bills that could be incurred. The nice people at Otom declare that they are "unbreakable, hard-wearing and indefinitely-reusable" and should you manage to break it (or your Labrador decides to eat it) they claim they will replace it free of charge.
If you're particularly interested in researching Derek habits and want to see an informative video, then head to www.otom.com which will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Ticks in plain simple Caroline language.
The company are based in France but should you wish to write and thank them for their invention then post your letter to:
ZA Sous la Combe
Or call them for an informative chat on: +(33)4 74 75 86 72
Or, even better, tell them all about your Derek via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!
Caroline & Doughnut (both currently tick free).
Allows painless tick removal from animal skin and coats