10 May 2011

Product Review - Bayer HealthCare Exitick

Now I must admit, I never imagined that I would one day write a review on a random tick remover... A cult shoe brand - yes, a tub of fabulous face cream - tick, an age-defying serum - why not? A tick remover, come on! Glamour has never been so ridiculed... Yet in my defence and in this particular case, I would have probably never considered such a subject matter, should I have been pleased with said product in the first place.

Let me start from the beginning. As you all know by now, I am the proud owner of a Jack Russell Terrier called Tickle (a.k.a. Tick, of all unfortunate foretelling nicknames one decides one day to inflict upon their beloved mutt!). And since living in Corsica, my little dog's unfortunate claim to fame has been to be Tick by name and... by nature!

Not sure if this is partly due to our countryside environment, a breeding ground for creepy-crawlies, parasites and a multitude of rodents that would only make the likes of Rentokil blissfully happy, yet sadly not curbed by the slightest sign of municipal (or private) pest control. I see you ominously point at my dog; this one - sigh - had to be the exception to the JRT rule. The only creatures he does chase are the ones we don't want him to chase: crickets, lizzards, slugs, snails and frogs... There is almost a penchant for French gastronomy going on (if you do exclude the first three!), but this might just be pure coincidence.

The fact that in this part of the world I have been unable to source Tickle's highly efficient veterinary-prescribed flea and tick treatment from back home has not helped the cause, meaning that my four-legged companion has developed an unfortunate propensity for catching ticks everytime he goes out. Infestation happens mostly in early Spring.

I'd read about tick removers, a simple metal device used to safely detach the pest from cats and dogs without running risks of leaving embedded body parts into our pets and causing infections (like we'd be likely to if using standard tweezers or scraping them off with fingers or cotton buds, etc.). So one morning I duly made my way to the local pharmacy in order to purchase one of those simple metal tick removers. I reckoned a 5-Euro note would leave me change for a coffee across the way.

When the pharmacist turned around looking smut (in a 'ta-da!' sort of way) and leaned across the counter with said item, I found myself facing a piece of chunky design-led fluorescent plastic monstrosity coming with all the useless bells and whistles... and packaging too. I got that sinking feeling but sadly enough I didn't just walk away, I walked away with the most pointless bit of design probably ever created this millennium, and 11.50 Euros poorer. 11.50 Euros!

For that price you'd expect Alessi or Philippe Starck to at least put their stamp on it and make sure you want to wear it on a necklace too. Sure enough they would have made sure that the design works and fulfills that simple task (Bayer, take note!): to safely remove ticks from your pet. It's no rocket science, and yet it might just as well be.

The tick remover looks like a nut-cracker, it is - according to the lengthy blurb and instructions to use on the box - 'designed' to remove all sizes of ticks. Looking at the tick remover once I'd (sort of) made sense of which way to use it, the ticks in question are supposed to be pretty massive to say the least (the size of an average black widow spider). Unless I am missing something, or that silly bit of plastic was 'designed' for some prehistoric XXL tick specimen from the rainforest, or 'designed' to pull out a vampiric tick after it'd been pumping blood non-stop off your pet (preferably with your consent) for the last 5 weeks, I cannot honestly see this tick-remover be of any use at all!

Of course I did put it to the test, I was unable to dislodge embedded ticks with the device and only got loose ticks climbing and crawling all over it and my hand (eeek!) before sliding back onto my dog or down the floor! This is no tick remover, rather a Tickle tick tickler! It got me annoyed too, with my purchasing decision, and with the pharmacist who I'd trusted. I had wrongly assumed that Corsica being a rural island, the powers that be would be sufficiently and efficiently equipped with tools of the trade to tackle the most basic outbreaks. I was wrong. I should have probably trawled the net, rather than help the local shops - for once.

Since that incident, I have made an appointment with the vet in Bastia, and requested a strong anti-tick repulsive for Tickle. Fingers crossed, this seems to be working (despite the odd tick he's still getting!). As for my experience with the Bayer Exitick, it will probably result in me cc-ing them this article as a complaint letter. And ta-da! That's one unhappy customer spreading the good word to the blog universe!

The + sides: none
The - sides: chunky, not ergonomical, difficult - if not impossible - to use, inflexible, expensive, totally useless.

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