This is not a post I ever hoped to write. I hate to even think about it, let alone make our scourge public information. But, as I think I have exhibited before in this blog, I have no shame.
Last week I posted a nice little story about our idyllic trail ride to the hills of Avimor. I talked about our sweet, hairy maniac puppy Winston coming along. Winston had a lot of fun on the ride. He ran up and down the trail. He bounded happily all over the surrounding brushy areas. He swam in every available stream, water hole and mud puddle.
He made some new friends.
They look like this.
No, not a flea. If the title of my post didn’t clue you in, Winston picked up what was apparently an astounding number of dog ticks on the ride.
I first discovered this problem two days after our return from the ride. I was sitting in my office typing away at something on the computer while the kids were performing some sort of dog torture in the other room, dressing up our poor ancient schnauzer in doll clothes and a stocking cap. Suddenly they started screaming there was something wrong with Maddie. Maddie is the schnauzer.
The ran in the office, accompanied by said dog. She sat down beside me and the kids pointed to her side. “There is something coming out of her side!” they exclaimed. I was worried. Maddie has a big bulge on her side that I suspect is cancer. Because she is thirteen and otherwise in pretty good health, I have chosen to ignore the mass until it causes symptoms or makes her too uncomfortable to live a normal life. I looked at her side with trepidation.
This is what I saw.
OK, this is not the actual one I saw, but it looked just like this picture. I did not have the present of mind to photograph it, and you can be damned sure if I did it would not have been sitting on my hand. I got this picture off the internet.
The tick was about the size of swollen lima bean, gray soft and squishy. I touched it and it fell off. The kids squealed. I realized immediately it must be a tick. Huh. No big deal. We picked up the tick and put it in a jar to show daddy when he got home. He wasn’t very impressed.
Batman was positively gleeful when I let him flush the tick down the toilet, screaming “Bye Bye Tick! Bye Bye Tick!” as it swirled it’s way down to eternity. It was pretty cute. He does the same thing when he used the potty for its traditional use. But he doesn’t say “Tick.”
I sort of forgot about the tick until two days later, when I got a call from the kids’ pre-school teacher. She sounded a little out of breath and panicky. “Zach has a tick on him. It is stuck to his ear!”
Again, I didn’t panic. I drove calmly the few blocks to preschool, and using the tick removal skills I gleaned from a couple of minutes of internet research I pulled the tick off by the head and preserved it in a small cup of alcohol in case, well, actually I don’t know why. It said to on the internet.
Then I did what any normal mother of a child who has been bitten by a tick would do.
I called the dog groomer.
She told me what to treat the dogs with, FrontLine Plus. And she said to go get some flea and tick spray and spray the dog’s beds and places they lay outside. I picked the kids up from pre-school and we did all the prescribed treatment just as the groomer suggested.
Over the course of the next few days I found a few dead ticks around. Three to be exact. They were all huge and swollen and gray and ugly. I picked them up and threw them away. I was confident the spray was working. I didn’t let Winston in the house for a few days, but yesterday I allowed the kids to bring him in and put him in his kennel so he could have a couple of pig ears in peace away from Toby The Old Man Dog, who takes his treats away from him.
This morning I went in to get dressed to take the kids to pre-school. I pulled off my pink plaid pajama bottoms and saw on my chubby white inner thigh, just above the knee A BIG TICK ATTACHED TO MY SKIN.
Once again, I did not have the presence of mind to take a photo. It was too gross. And the tick was ugly too.
Now it was personal.
I did what any person who has had multiple family members bitten by ticks would do.
I called my vet, Dr. Danny.
He was pretty unimpressed by my story, much the same as Desperate Hubby, and told me to just keep spraying if I see more ticks, and they will soon be gone. He told me that what I treated the dogs with would kill the ticks all dead in just a little more time.
I believe him, but I am still off to buy spider bombs, which the internet says will kill any remaining ticks. I spent some time online identifying the type of ticks we have and apparently they do not carry diseases that can harm humans, and don’t survive for long unless they are attached to a host. But they are gross.
And I want them dead.