What Should I do About a Tick on my Dog?
I think I found a tick between Stuart's toes. It could be that just the head is left, because I don't see any legs. Should I try to remove it?
San Diego, CA
If you are not completely certain that what you are seeing is a tick, then I would not recommend that you attempt to remove it.
Ticks are blood sucking parasites that can carry a number of diseases. Lyme disease is the most famous, and dogs are susceptible to it. Ticks also spread frightening diseases and syndromes with scary names such as ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Q-fever, tick paralysis, and rocky mountain spotted fever.
Fortunately, most dogs that suffer from tick infestation do not contract a serious disease. Skin infection at the site of attachment is the most common complication that I see.
A vet should definitely take a look at Stuart's foot. If, in fact, a tick is attached then it should be removed. But you should be aware that skin tags, benign tumors, moles and warts sometimes look like ticks. Your best bet is to have a professional assess the situation.
Photo: Andr Karwath. Photo license: CC