Paralysis ticks: what you need to know
17 July 2017
Ticks are especially common in Australia and can cause serious harm to your pets. In many regions of Australia, September marks the start of the paralysis tick season; however your pets can be bitten all year round. This is why you should continuously monitor your cat or dog for any ticks and treat them against these nasty pests all year round.
Ticks are parasites that suck the blood from animals in order to grow and reproduce. They are most active in warm/humid climates and can be commonly found in dense bush, long grass, pet beds and kennels. Not only can they create open wounds that can lead to infections, the paralysis tick can kill a small animal with only one bite. They release a neurotoxin into the bloodstream which can cause progressive paralysis of muscles throughout the body. It is for these reasons that all pet owners should be aware of the dangers and regularly check their pets for ticks.
What to look for
Some key symptoms you should be looking for include:
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy or depression
- Change in bark
- Coughing, retching or vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing or rapid breathing
- Arthritis/swelling in joints
- Lack of coordination in the hind legs
If you suspect your pet has been bitten, thoroughly check their body for ticks – especially around the head, neck and ears area. If you happen to find one, gently remove it with your thumb and index finger (as close to the skin as possible) and place in a plastic bag for your vet to later identify. Contact your vet immediately in order to determine if the tick may cause paralysis to your pet.
When it comes to pets and ticks, it has been said that prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of ways you can minimise the chances of a tick fatality in your pet. Awareness of your dog and its surroundings is the most important factor when it comes to keeping them safe from ticks – you should know your area and be aware if ticks are prevalent.
You should also mow your lawns regularly and be on alert if there is a higher rainfall than normal during winter and autumn as this will spark an infestation of ticks. Tick treatments for your pet are also an effective way of combatting these parasites. There are tablets, sprays and collars that can be purchased to protect your pet from these deadly ticks.
Keeping your pet safe from ticks should be a priority, especially if you’re living in high risk areas. Always stay vigilant and be sure to regularly check your pet for any signs of ticks, making it a part of your daily routine with them. If you find one, it is common for more to be close by, so be sure to thoroughly check their coat and contact a vet to make sure they are not deadly to your pet.
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