Jan 7, 2009

Falling Ticks

David Pearson removed this from a patient's ear. It's most likely Dermacentor variabilis, an American dog tick. You can even see a scrap of the ear canal that got removed along with the tick.

Ticks are very common disease vectors, meaning that, like the mosquito, they are responsible for carrying a variety of illnesses from host to host. If you end up with a dog tick in your ear, perhaps you'll be relieved to know that while you might contract Rocky Mountain spotted fever, you won't get Lyme disease. That's carried by the deer tick. I imagine in such a situation, you'd scramble for any form of solace.

It's also a relief to know that ticks don't fly or jump. They usually just fall. Sounds a lot like my son, who's just learned how to walk. No one tell him that I compared him to a tick.

Photo source: David Pearson

12 comments:

Alan said...

Now that's an Ugly Overload. Ick

Danielle said...

Ok, so you might already know that I hate anything with more than four legs (excluding butterflies and mammals born weird).
For the first time in my life, I found a tick on mea couple months ago (I'm 23). I'm not proud of this, but I stood and cried while my husband removed it from my side. I had to watch the dead little bugger be flushed to make sure he didn't escape and somehow manage to find my side and feast on my blood again.

YUCK.

Anonymous said...

What's a "mea couple"? Is that a variant of mea culpa?

Anonymous said...

Better an ear tick than a facial tick. Badump bump, tsshhh!

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week. Please tip your waitresses well (it cuts down on local prostitution).

Zanna said...

Oh lord, the memories. As a semi-feral woodland child, I had to be de-ticked every summer at the end of each day when I came in from playing outside. Most of the time I would come up clean (I always wore hats or scarves), but sometimes my parents would find a tick anyway, often one that had been sucking happily away all day. And my dad had exactly the wrong way of dealing with them (never do this!), he would take his cigarette out of his mouth and burn the tick until it fell off. This resulted in occasional cigarette burns to me as well, but worse still, when I grew up I found out that this causes the tick to regurgitate into the wound it's attached to. Fortunately for me, I apparently was only fed on by disease-free ticks.

I've heard since that a careful tweezer to the jaws right at the point of attachment is the way to go. Anyone know another better method?

Bone Artist said...

Man, not only do you find one really ugly tick, but you find one that looks like a walnut...

muttz said...

Wow, that is an ugly tick. Part of the ear canal? Aww, poor baby... that must've the dog.

Anon, Danielle forgot to put a space between "me" and "a."

Zanna: Except for the tick part, I would have LOVED your childhood. Glad to hear that there was no lasting illness. (My friend got Lyme disease--not fun.) I can see why your dad would have thought the cigarette thing would work, though--I've heard that if you merely touch a leech with a cig or bug repellent, it'll let go. I may misinformed, but at this point, I have no reason to doubt the source.

I'll shut up now. :)

muttz said...

P.S. (I lied.) Don't worry, Wombat, we won't tell your son that you compared him to a blood-sucking insect. :)

Tim Eisele said...

They may not jump, but they do climb up onto tree branches, stalks of grass, or other tall objects, and wave their little forelegs in the air hoping that somebody will brush against them. I've watched them do this (the swampy area near our house is absolutely lousy with them).

Tweezers to the head is definitely the best way to get them off. Very little fuss.

Last spring, my 3-year-old daughter had one in one of the depressions in her outer ear, where it was hard to see. She cried while we were tweezing it out, but once we got it out, this changed to "Let me see! I want to see!" I let her cut its head off with scissors. She thought that was cool.

Wendy said...

Last spring, while mushrooming with my dad in the woods, I ended up with a tick on me that I discovered in the shower the following morning. After yanking something off my skin (right about at my bra strap level under my left arm), and seeing what it was, I pretty much freaked out and hollered at my husband to check all the areas I couldn't see. I still get the shivers, and may wear turtlenecks into the woods for the rest of my life...

Angie said...

You need to add a reation 'gross' for those creatures that are too disgusting to be funny, interesting, or cool!

Raging Wombat said...

Great idea, Angie. I just did. Thanks.