Spring is here and so are the ticks!!!
Over the last week I have heard two radio shows discussing ticks and how they are out and in high numbers already. My daughter even had one on her arm last week. So I thought that I would remind everyone of the dangers of ticks, tick paralysis in pets and prevention methods.
The tick season, when their are higher numbers of adult ticks present, is from August to February. There are a number of tick species in Australia including the Brown Dog Tick, Bush Tick, Cattle Tick and the most dangerous the Paralysis Tick. So as we are heading into the most dangerous time of year for ticks it is important that your pets tick prevention is up to date. There are a few different tick preventative products available that work either by repelling ticks or killing them once they make contact with or attach to the animal.
For dogs, Frontline Original, Frontline Spray, Frontline Plus and Advantix all control paralysis ticks for up to two weeks and brown dog ticks and fleas for up to a month. There are also Tick Collars available like Preventic, Kiltix and Scalibor that dogs can wear. For tick control on cats Frontline Spray is a safe option and controls paralysis ticks for up to two weeks and other ticks and fleas for four weeks. Also available are some washes or rinses like Permoxin or Aristopet Bouquet Flea and Tick Rinse that provide some protection from tick attachment. When treating cats and young animals make sure that the product is suitable and safe to use as some ingredients may be harmful. It is most important to remember that none of these products are or claim to be 100% effective which is why they are to be used in combination with diligent daily checking of your pets.
Make sure to check your animal daily and know the signs of tick paralysis. If you do find a tick on your animal it should be removed as soon as possible to prevent any further toxins being excreted by the tick. To safely remove the tick I suggest using a Tick Twister which has been specifically designed to remove ticks. Even though the tick has been removed it is very important that the animal is carefully watched for a number of days. This is because tick toxins may have already been excreted and the animal may still be affected and become quite sick. And don’t forget no to stop looking just because you found one tick as there may still be more.
It is important to know the signs of tick paralysis as early intervention and treatment gives the best recovery outcomes. The effects of the paralysis tick can be very difficult to treat especially as the paralysis advances during the later stages. The following is a list of signs that an animal might be suffering from tick paralysis. If any of these signs are seen the animal should be taken to a veterinarian immediately
* coughing or gagging
* a change in voice or bark
* difficulty swallowing
* salivation / drooling
* noisy / laboured breathing
* wobbling and lack of coordination
* inability to stand
* weakness or paralysis in the back legs, progressing to the front legs
If your pet does fall victim to a paralysis tick a veterinarian will treat them with tick antiserum and supportive therapies like intravenous fluids, sedation and antibiotics. It is important that a vet monitors them closely as the tick toxins can quickly affect the cardiac and nervous systems. They will most likely need to stay in hospital for a few days and sometimes up to two weeks dependant on the severity of the paralysis. Animals that have suffered from tick paralysis do need to be kept very quiet for a number of weeks, 6-8, after leaving the veterinarian. It is important that they do not get over excited or stressed. If they do get another tick they need to be treated immediately as it is likely that the effects will be more severe.
Overall the most important things to remember if you live in a tick paralysis area is use a preventive tick product, check your pet daily and contact a veterinarian immediately if there are any signs of tick paralysis.
If you are looking for a bit more information on the Paralysis Tick here is the link to a great youtube video put together by Virbac. >> http://youtu.be/I6McQJ7caHA
Until next time,