There have already been quite a few cases of tick paralysis in the area, with some being fatal. So, PLEASE make sure that your fur babies are up to date with their tick prevention.
Paralysis ticks attach onto dogs and cats and then burrow their mouth-parts into the skin. The tick feeds on the host’s blood, injecting small amounts of toxic saliva into the dog or cat, which causes weakness and ultimately paralysis.
Paralysis ticks (Ixodes holocyclus) can be identified by their grey body and legs close to their head (see images 2 & 4). As they feed, they grow in size.
Tick paralysis occurs mostly in known tick areas, particularly along Australia’s east coast (see photo 3).
Signs of tick paralysis: - Uncoordination - Weakness - Collapse - Vomiting or retching - Difficulty breathing
Most tick paralysis cases can be treated by general practice vets, but there has been an increase in the number of dogs and cats requiring treatment at emergency and referral hospitals where they are able to provide 24-hour care for critical patients. In critical cases, animals require constant monitoring and assistance with breathing to maintain adequate oxygen levels, as the tick toxin can affect their ability to breath on their own.
Prevention is the best cure, as treatment can add up to thousands of dollars if the pet requires intensive care, and recovery isn't always guaranteed.
There are a number of excellent tick prevention products that are long-acting and easy to administer. At Cooks Hill Veterinary Clinic, we highly recommend: - Bravecto spot on: available for cats and dogs. Lasts six months for dogs, 3 months for cats. - Bravecto chew: available for dogs. Lasts three months. - Nexgard/Nexgard spectra: available for dogs. Lasts one month.
Other tips for tick prevention: - Avoid bush habitats if possible. Before visiting tick-prone areas, even only for short periods, use preventatives. - Have long-haired pets clipped to make it easier to find ticks. - Check pets for ticks every day (front legs, neck, face and ears are common targets).
If you are worried that your pet has a tick and/or is suffering from tick paralysis, please call a Veterinary Clinic immediately! Our contact number is (02) 4925 2999. If after hours, please call the Animal Referral and Emergency Centre (AREC) on (02) 4957 7106.