13 July 2011

Learning To Tick-Check

Due to Thane's Lyme Disease, I am trying to take the entire process of prevention more seriously. As a deafblind incomplete quad with a dog who is normally not even still in his sleep- well I think you get the picture LOL

I am slowly though beginning this process because frankly I never want us to have another round of this disease. Besides its debilitating effects, lets face it, it hampers my independence significantly when Thane is down.

I began the process by thinning out his pantaloons and tail- not so much that he does not look like a Border Collie, but enough that I can more easily feel to the skin. He looks fine and honestly I'd give up on aesthetics for preventing another tick from causing us harm in this manner again.

One thing I have noticed is that this is very energy draining for me. Its not as simple as a superficial massage. At the end of the day, the best time to be doing it, before he joins me in my bed, I am already drained. Right now I am more so this way with Thane being down. Its not just work in public that has been lost but tasks around home as well. So- frankly my arms are ready to just stop moving at the end of the day.

I am finding that I am discovering little imperfections in Thane's skin- be it scaley allergen spots, places he has chewed and hair has matted down, little bumps that I had not known were there, or even yes, a flea. Knowing where these things are and what they feel like will help me in an enormous way should another tick invade my dog. I will know that the bump is not normal- not a part of what I have come accustomed to feeling.

On the dog side of things- Met loved all the intimate rubbing and feeling he could get out of me, but Thane- he is another story. Thane would rather be playing ball. He accepts this new fondling I give him in limited quantities before he must bounce up and get a ball thrown. I realize this won't all come together overnight for us. We are starting with the places ticks often go first, but its still a learning process; a building up tolerance not just for me, but for Thane.

The other day I got his two hind legs before he was up and throwing a ball at me again. Yesterday I got three legs and his tail- perhaps by next week, I will get all his legs, tail, and head.

I've begun to check him a bit as we are waking up as well- this is a time when he is much more malleable and helpful in the learning process. I really don't want to be sleeping with ticks though so just because it appears to be easier in the morning does not necessarily mean, that is the time I should be doing it.

Personally I find myself feeling his skin in some location any time he stops by me and is still long enough for me to handle him- I guess that comes with knowing what these critters can do to one's insides.

I hope in the weeks and months ahead that this will get easier as I become more accustomed to the practice of it. I just don't know what I will do though if I really find a tick on him. I don't know if I can physically work the tool and remove it. That concerns me of course. In the worst case scenario I pay for the vet clinic to remove it when I find it- of course they are not open at night, but I think its still important to do what I can


  1. Yes, it is often exhausting. Some nights I don't do a very good job because I am just worn out.

    Two tips that might help sometimes:

    - Make sure the dog has toileted before the tick check. Barnum can hold it forever, like a camel, so I sometimes don't realize he has to go. If I take him out to pee before a tick check, he is usually much more calm, quiet, and relaxed.

    - Sometimes if Barnum is taking a nap or drowsy anyway -- because it's hot or because he's had a walk or whatever, that can be a good time to check him. Or, after a mentally intensive training session. The more tuckered out, usually, the better he is at lying still and being relaxed and compliant.

  2. Thane is the same way- can hold his pee forever! I take him out though before settling enough to check him out.
    I really think though that the biggest problem is his confinement right now- he's just not getting the normal exercise between his status with Lyme and the weather.
    Its also hard for me to go through all we need to for his allergies when we really can't go anywhere substantial yet. Its a balancing act of what is the priority. I'm sure once we are doing more again that he will be easier to work with. He actually did climb up on bed with me today and sprawled out as if asking to be checked. It was pretty funny.