How to remove ticks
Why are ticks so hard to remove?
How quickly must ticks be removed?
What happens if I leave the head in?
Order tick forceps
As a veterinarian, I've removed thousands of ticks using many different methods. Most tick tools and surgical instruments are awkward to use and tend to either squash the tick or poke holes in the patient.
Searching for something better, I came across an instrument ophthalmologists use for removing splinters from the eye. Fine tipped and curved, they are almost perfect for tick removal, but expensive and not sturdy enough to remove firmly embedded ticks. We have modified this design and now have what is probably the only surgical-quality instrument made specifically for tick removal.
For tick removal from dogs, cats, or humans, nothing else works as well.
Fingers work well, but it's a bad idea because you wind up with tick juice under your fingernails.
Not as bad. You are protected, but with rubber gloves on, you can't use your fingernails. The process is clumsy and you leave parts of the tick behind.
Not terrible, but all you can do is grasp the tick's body and pull, squashing the tick and leaving the head behind.
These work pretty well, but with straight sharp tweezers itís difficult to avoid poking holes in your patient.
Not bad but awkward to use. Curved tip forceps are better because they allow room to hold the instrument without your hand getting in the way.
Carefully used, small curved hemostats work pretty well. These are probably what your physician or veterinarian uses. Unfortunately hemostats tend to crush the tick, which is something that should be avoided if possible.
A little plastic spoon with an impressively well-crafted notch at the end. The idea is to slide the notch under the tick and then lever it off. If you have a cooperative patient and a hairless area to work in, these are good little tools.
Similar to the tick spoon, you slide the implement under the tick and lift it off. Slightly more difficult to use on dogs than the tick spoon, the tick slider is not a bad choice for humans.
These are little gizmos with curved plastic jaws that fit under the tick, enabling you to grasp the tickís head and lift it off. The jaws are beautifully designed, but the handles arenít, making the instrument clumsy to use, even on a cooperative human patient.
One of the more inventive tools, the tick noose consists of a spring-loaded handle something like a ball point pen. Pressing the end of the handle extends a monofilament nylon noose. Slip the noose around the tick's little neck, release the spring, and lift off the tick. Sounds good, but in practice this is't quite so easy. It's difficult to fit the noose over the bodies of large ticks, and on small ticks, releasing the spring often pulls the noose away from the tick rather than tightening around its neck.