Paralysis ticks...you can bite back
In recent weeks we have had numerous patients suffering from tick paralysis which have
resulted in death. The patients presented to the clinic with varying effects of the toxin, were given emergency care but regardless rapidly declined and passed away. Many think that there are distinct “tick seasons” in our area, but please do not be fooled into a false sense of security. Paralysis ticks are an ever present threat to our pets throughout the year.
WHAT IS A PARALYSIS TICK?
Paralysis ticks are small parasitic, blood sucking insects which secretes a dangerous neuro-toxin in their saliva. They are present along the entire east coast of Australia, with populations diminishing across the Dividing Range. When your pet is bitten the neuro-toxin travels throughout the vascular system and can cause a number of early clinical signs, including:
- Wobbly, uncoordinated gait while walking, exaggerated in the hind limbs.
- Coughing, grunting, loss or change of voice.
- Retching, vomiting, and gagging.
- Pupil dilation.
- Change in respiratory rate and increased effort.
More advanced signs may include complete inability to walk/move, and severe respiratory comprise. Once these advanced signs are noticed, it is often the case that the disease has progressed to a point where treatment may be ineffective.
TREATMENT IS BETTER THAN A CURE
We recommend that pets are put on preventative medications and daily tick searches are performed all year round. The most effective preventative medications for dogs are oral treatments such as Simparica, Nexgard and Bravecto chewables. For cats we recommend Frontline spray, Bravecto spot-on and keeping strictly indoors.
WHAT DO I DO IF I FIND A TICK ON MY PET?
If you find a tick on your pet and notice any of the signs listed above, it is vital that you seek immediate veterinary attention. This is classed as an emergency and needs to be treated as soon as possible to give your pet the best chance of recovery.
You can pick up a tick paralysis hand-out from the clinic at 4/471 Varley Street, Yorkeys Knob, or phone 40578677 for further information.