Friday, May 29, 2009

A S(Tick)y Situation!

I've lived in NC over five years now. I swear to God, even though I've heard all about ticks, I had yet to see one.
That all changed yesterday.
When I woke up, I was lying on my stomach. Still half asleep, I brushed at the back of my leg with my hand. I felt something adhered to my leg so I sort of knocked it off. I was trying to get back to sleep when some part of my brain kicked in with "What the hell WAS that on my leg?"
I jumped out of bed and wrenched my head around to look at my leg. There was an ugly looking red spot that hurt like the dickens. My first thought was I'd been bitten by a spider (I've seen A LOT of spiders lately). Worried about what TYPE of spider it might be, I started hunting through the sheets for what I'd pulled off my leg.
I didn't see anything at first. Then, I noticed a small little dot on the sheet. I peered closer and realized the dot was crawling, albeit slowly, away from me. I sort of shrieked when I saw it's little legs waving at me, as if to say, "Ciao, ciao, baby, thanks for the snack!"
I ran into the bathroom for a Kleenex. I wanted to keep it to show it to Mr. B (who was out walking Lucy) to confirm my suspicion that it was, indeed, a TICK.
Mr. B and Lucy came home a few minutes later. When they came into the bedroom, he was surprised to see me up. I was a tad hysterical when I told him what happened. Am I gonna die? Will I get some disease? I knew you were not supposed to pull ticks off because you leave their legs in you!
Well, he corrected me; it's not the legs, it's the mouth. He looked at the little creature in the Kleenex (who, despite my having placed the soap dispenser on one end and a bottle of saline on the other to keep it trapped, had managed to get out and was on the lam across the bathroom counter top).
Yep, definitely a tick. He then looked at my leg and ascertained that there was no little tick mouth stuck in my bite. Thank God (although I guess the tick might not be able to move if it didn't have its head).
He fixed me up with ointment and a band-aid, Mr. Tick went on the one way whirley trip down the toilet, and Mr. B checked out Lucy.
He found a tick on her leg and got it off right away with tweezers (it had not adhered to her yet). He didn't find any others.
He then checked himself out and didn't find any ticks but he did find a bite in, uh, well, let's just say a sensitive place. So, Mr. Tick had likely gone from Mr. B to me.
Well, I was not taking any chances! I took off our bedding, as well as Lucy's bed cover, and took them downstairs to wash them. I also decided to wash all the throw rugs and her other bed cover.
Suffice it to say, Lucy got a dose of Frontline.
Later that morning, I went to go let Lucy out. When she sat at the door, I noticed the place where the Frontline was was turning black. EEK! I let her out and called Mr. B. He told me not to worry too much but see if I couldn't take a picture and email it to him.
I went outside to take a picture of her. I came back in to upload it to my computer. As it was uploading, I went back to let her in. Thankfully, I thought it might be a good idea to look at her feet before I let her into the main part of the house.
That is when I found at least three ticks on her. I made her stay put, went and got the tweezers, and, like I'd seen Mr. B do, tried to pry the first one off.
She yanked her foot and I got most of it. But, I knew some of it was still there. So, like Mr. B had told me to do, I went to get some oil. I smothered the little fu$$er with it and it plopped off.
I did the same with the 2nd one.
The third one, though, would not budge no matter how much oil I put on it.
Around this time, Mr. B called to find out where the picture was. I was none too happy and told him our yard was full of ticks. He decided it would be best to leave work, go get some insecticide, and come home to spray the yard and get the uncooperative tick off Lucy.
In the meantime, I put Lucy in the sunroom and went to check on Pete and Lily. I didn't find anything on them (but Pete was not very happy with me and kept yanking his paws away). I started to wonder if we should get Frontline for them, too.
Throughout all of this, I was in email conversation with my SIL Analee who was a big help, thanks, Analee! She had a lot of good advice.
I called our vet and they said it would be a good idea to get Frontline for Pete and Lily. They told me not to worry about it being poisonous; they'd have to lick up tons of it to do any harm and they probably wouldn't get past the first lick because it's very bitter tasting and makes them foam at the mouth (I was worried about them licking it off one another).
Mr. B came home and got the tick off of Lucy, found a few more, got them off, and went out to treat the yard. He told me we would not be able to let Lucy out into the yard for at least 48 hours.
After he went back to work, I walked Lucy.
When we came home, I took her straight to the sunroom where I thoroughly looked her over. And found several more ticks.
By this time, she was not happy. She was not very cooperative when I tried to smother them with oil and, to make a long story short, I was getting frustrated and couldn't get them off. Additionally, Pete (on the other side of the sunroom door) kept trying to climb in between the door and the blinds; rattling the blinds all over creation. I looked over and saw his little face smashed into the glass and didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
I did neither. I shouted and pounded on the door and he ran away.
Thoroughly disgusted, frustrated and freaked out at this point, I sent Mr. B a text telling him I was going to keep Lucy in the sunroom until he got home because I couldn't get the ticks off her and I didn't want them hopping off her and onto Pete, Lily or me. Poor thing, but, what else could I do?
I then went to put the clothes that he'd worn while treating the yard (which were outside in the garage) into the washer. After I did so, I noticed small red splotches on the floor in the utility room. I got down to take a closer look, and, GROSS! They were ticks that had fallen either out of his clothes or off of Lucy when we came back from our walk. They'd been so full of blood that they literally splattered when they hit the ground.
Mr. B called at that point and said he was coming home (obviously, he realized his wife was in danger of completely melting down; plus, he didn't think it was a good idea to leave the ticks on Lucy).
While waiting for him, I ran around like a banshee vacuuming everything I could think of to vacuum. In the middle of a horrific thunder and lightening storm, too. I didn't even care that I ran a (small) risk of getting electrocuted!
When he arrived, he, once again, got the ticks off Lucy. He decided this time to work from home for the rest of the day. I drove over to the vet to get the Frontline for Pete and Lily (BTW this stuff is NOT CHEAP!)
I got home and we dosed the cats. Neither were too happy about it but thankfully they'd been in the midst of one of their afternoon naps so were sorta sleepy and didn't put up much of a fight.
Pete promptly turned his head 180 degrees and tried to lick at his spot. Lily managed to get some of hers and you should have seen the grimace on her face when she tasted it.
After that, things calmed down somewhat. Mr. B took Lucy for a long walk while I crashed on the couch upstairs with Pete on my chest. Later, we had a martini (I think I could have used two but kept it to one) and, after dinner, we walked Lucy again (that made #4!)
I have not found any ticks on her, me, Mr. B or The Twins today. Thank God. Hopefully, the Frontline has kicked in on all three of them so, even if they do manage to pick up a hitch hiking tick or two, the little you know whats will bite them, ingest their blood, and die.
Die, die, you little gross things! What possible good or benefit does a tick offer this world?
I can't think of anything!
Anyway, what a day!
Mrs. B
The black spot on Lucy's fur is gone today and we threw out the bag from the vacuum cleaner so as not to risk reintroducing any ticks or tick eggs to our carpet the next time I vacuum.


Doc said...

Sounds like I need to bring some french bread and kosher sea salt to sop up the olive oil on the goose.

Mr. B said...

Yeah, she had a wee bit of olive oil on her Thursday.

Very nice writing Mrs. B. and yes, the last time I talked to you, you were somewhat frantic.


Analee said...

glad all my years of living in the woods amongst the ticks has helped someone. i hate getting them off, though, they totally gross me out when they are attached. yuck.

well frontline is very expensive (its $18/tube for the cats at our vet) and they recommend applying it every three weeks during the summer (every 4 weeks the rest of the year) - but it WORKS. and in reality. $18 x 3pets x every3weeks is worth sanity.

i'm just glad those containers of spider killer are cheap. we go through those things like water... i spray everything that moves. i hate spiders so much. way more than ticks.

Analee said...

what does TA mean?

Mrs. B said...

Analee: TA is short for Ti Amo (I love you in Italian)

Margot said...

The joys of living in Tickland! When I was living, very young child, in VA our cocker got ticks which would swell into huge lumpy nasty things. I would get them in my hair & they'd dig into my scalp. Mom used turpentine on both me & Sarg.

I don't think that ticks go north of the Mason Dixon line because I never had another tick problem.

Analee said...

ah. one good thing about living in the north. :) no ticks! (JK)