Dont be the lone star in your practice who can talk about ticks. Be a deer, er dear, and practice this sample tick talk with your veterinary team to bridge the gulf in otherwise rocky tick conversations with clients.
Let's face it: Ticks are pretty creepy. You know tick prevention can help protect pets' health, but you're thinking, “Do I really need to have this conversation one more time with pet owners?” The quick answer: Yep. Absolutely. Early and often.
The good news: There's plenty to say to keep this conversation compelling. Consider this sample script. (You might even try role-playing it with your team at your next staff meeting.) Then find ways to paraphrase and make it your own:
Ms. Ticked: I live in the city. Do I really have to worry about ticks and my pets?
Team member: I'm sure you don't see ticks very often in the city, but that doesn't mean they aren't around. While it's true ticks are more common in wooded or grassy areas, they can actually be found anywhere-even in the city. The truth is that any pet may be exposed to ticks. You could even carry ticks into your home, where they can jump onto your indoor-only pets. Of course, pets are more likely to be exposed to ticks when they're outdoors. So we recommend avoiding tall grasses and checking your pets frequently for ticks.
Ticks are known to carry pathogens that can cause serious illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and more. The longer a tick is attached to your pet, the more likely the tick can transmit disease. And an attached tick can cause skin irritation and even infection in your pet.
If you find a tick on your pet, use tweezers or a special tick removal tool to gently grasp the tick where the head meets the skin and pull straight out. Be careful not to pinch your pet's skin. Also, it's important that you don't squeeze the body of the tick or you may cause the tick to deposit more disease into your pet.
The most important thing you can do is to keep ticks from affecting your pet in the first place. This is why it's so important to use tick prevention all year round. I'm happy to go over some of the products our veterinarian recommends.
Jenna Stregowski, RVT, has worked in veterinary medicine since 1997. She is a hospital manager in Atlanta, Georgia, and the writer and editor of the website dogs.about.com.