Heading North for the Holidays? Don’t Forget the Tick Protection

How to Protect Your dog from Paralysis Ticks

Down here in Victoria we’re probably not too concerned about ticks because most of our State is relatively tick free. But head North or to the Eastern coastal areas and the picture changes dramatically.

From what we’re reading, the tick season has well and truly started with an unusually high number of dogs being rushed to clinics for lifesaving tick paralysis treatment.

Why worry?

Paralysis ticks are dangerous. When a female paralysis tick attaches to your dog it begins to feed by burrowing its mouthparts into the dog’s skin and feeding on its blood. During this process it starts to produce a potent toxin that affects the dog’s central nervous system causing progressive papalysis and possible death.

While an anti-serum is available, it is expensive and very dependent on the early identification os symptoms.

Signs of tick paralysis

Signs your dog may have tick paralysis include:Paralysis Tick

  • Weakness or paralysis in the back legs progressing to the front legs
  • Wobbling and lack of co-ordination
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Change in bark tone
  • Grunting when breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitating or vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Inability to stand
  • Facial paralysis

Prevention is easy – and cheaper than cure

Thankfully it’s easy to protect your dog from the danger of Tick Paralysis. You can choose between spotton products like Advantix (DOGS ONLY) and Frontline (Frontline for Cats and Frontline for Dogs) and the long lasting Preventic Tick Collar for dogs.

Both Frontline and Advantix need to be applied every fortnight for continued protection but if you want a longer lasting tick paralysis preventative – we suggest Bravecto. (Product Update 2015) It lasts up to 3 months if all instructions are carefully followed.

However – even when using tick prevention we always recommend checking your dog daily for ticks.

Tick FAQ’s

When is the Tick Season?

In the Northern areas tick season is all year round. In the Southern areas tick season lasts from Spring through to Autumn.

How do I look for Ticks on my dog?

It’s best to use your hands and ‘feel’ your dog’s body all over paying particular attention to the head, neck, chest and front leg areas.

Which parts of the Southern States are high risk tick areas?

Check out the map indicated by the link below.

More information on Paralysis Ticks, Location Hot spots and Prevention.

Are all ticks dangerous?

No. There are several species of ticks and not all are equally dangerous. The paralysis tick however poses the greatest risk to your dog or cat.

Can cats get ticks too?

Yes. Cats can be affected by ticks including the paralysis ticks.

If I find a tick on my pet, should I remove it?

It’s always best to remove the tick as quickly as possible. You can do this yourself by using a device called a Tick Twister which is specifically designed for this purpose.

If this is not possible or you’re unsure as to what type of tick your pet is carrying, please see your vet as quickly as possible.

Beware the Hitchiker

It’s tempting to let tick prevention run out as soon as you reach home. We however recommend you continue with prevention for a few weeks after arriving back home to a non tick area. This is just in case any of these nasty parasites have managed to climb aboard your luggage for the trip home.

We have seen this happen just recently so please be vigilant for a little while longer.

More information on Paralysis Ticks, Location Hot spots and Prevention.

Information contained in the blog courtesy of Virbac Animal Health

Tips for Healthy Paws This Summer

3 Ways to Prevent Foot Problems in Your Dog this Summer

As humans, we take foot protection for granted by simply wearing appropriate footwear. The same of course can’t be said for our canine companions whose feet can take a real beating when running through wet or prickly grass in the park, pounding hard pavements, stepping on sharp objects and of course in Summer – walking on hot asphalt.

While paws are certainly tough enough to withstand a variety of different terrains normally encountered in the wild, the modern dog’s environment is quite removed from the ‘natural’ which of course – presents a whole new set of hazards.

Today’s dog is more likely to hang out on ‘man made’ surfaces and areas prone to contamination such as parks, concrete backyards and footpaths which means, regular foot checks and maintenance should be included your dog’s regular home health care routine.

You never know what unsanitary things they can collect on their feet after a run in the park!

Tip No 1: Regular Foot Spas

Unlike us humans – dogs sweat from only two places, their nose and their paws. So imagine what could be happening between those toes on a hot Summers day! All those bacteria, moulds, allergens, chemicals and other contaminants your dog picks up on his walks end up sticking to the sweaty paws and collecting in between his toes. Little wonder they start to cause irritation after a while, causing your dog to lick at the site in an effort to relieve the discomfort. And the longer the irritants remain in contact with the skin, the more serious the damage can become.

An easy way to avoid this problem is by giving your dog a regular ‘foot bath’

You can easily prepare a soothing and decontaminating solution at home by using some simple ingredients you probably already have in your first aid kit or pantry..

To disinfect, decontaminate and clean your dog’s paws, a dilute solution of Betadine is ideal. Beatdine or PVP Iodine is an effective antifingal, antiseptic and antiviral agent that’s safe and non irritating to the skin.

For general cleansing, soothing or and healing you could try teas such as cooled chamomile, black or green tea solutions. Another effective and natural disinfectant is Apple Cider Vinegar. Just add a small amount 50 – 60mls per litre of water for a soothing and itch – relieving soak!

You can soak small dog’s feet all at the same time in a bath or laundy sink OR if your dog is too big – soak them one at a time in a tub or container. Make sure you dry them off afterwards.

Tip No 2: Foot Protection

Did you know you can buy comfortable protective footwear for dogs? Dog boots are a great way to protect your dogs feet from injury from hot surfaces, sharp objects and chemical irritants.

For great quality boots, socks and other protective gear for your outdoor dog – check out our store.

If you don’t want to go down this track, avoid walking your dog on concrete or asphalt surfaces on hot days. Burnt paws hurt!

Tip No 3: Daily Paw check

You’ll be surprised at what damage a simple grasseed stuck between your dog’s toes can do. Check your dog’s feet and paws after each walk to make sure none of these nasty little hitchikers are stuck between the toes. To minimise the risk of grasseeed injuries, keep the fur around your dog’s feet and in between the toes trimmed short.

Also check for cuts and abrasions on your dog’s foot pads as not only can they become infected quickly, pad injuries are painful and can take a long time to heal.

For cuts or other injuries to the pads, always seek veterinary advice.

November is Pet Diabetes Month

Is your cat or Dog experiencing any of these Signs?

  • Increased thirst?
  • Increased urination?
  • Increased hunger while still losing weight?
  • Lower activity?
  • Thinning, dry or dull coat?

If so – you might want to talk to your vet about getting your pet screened for diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus is the medical name for diabetes. It’s a disease caused by lack of insulin that affects the level of glucose or sugar in your pet’s bloodstream. Glucose, which is produced from your pet’s food is an important source of energy. and in order for it to to reach the cells where it can be used, it needs insulin. Healthy pets produce insulin naturally but pets with diabetes don’t.

In this case, glucose builds up in he bloodstream but cannot reach the cells where it is needed.

Is Diabetes in Pets the same as Diabetes in People?

Yes, the two conditions are much the same which is why you’ll find both the treatment and monitoring systems similar to those used for diabetic humans.

How common is diabetes in Dogs and Cats?

Diabets is reported to affect anywhere between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 dogs and cats but experts believe this disease is actually on the rise.

Can Diabetes lead to other health problems?

Yes, dogs and cats living with diabetes for a year or more can devlop other health problems.

For dogs, the most common complication of diabetes is cataracts. Persistently high glucose levels make the lens of the eye opaque causing blindness.

For cats, weakness of the hind legs is a common complication. Persistantly high blood glucode levels may damage nerves causing weakness and muscle wasting.

This is why it’s so important to catch this disease in it’s early stages.

Will Diabetes Affect my Pet’s Life expectancy?

Effective treatment is available nowdays so your pet can live the same comfortable and long life as a non diabetic dog or cat. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help a diabetic pet maintain a good quality of life.

How can my Vet Test for Diabetes?

Your vet may begin by performing a general health examination and testing a small amount of your pet’s urine.

If glucose is present in the urine, your vet will then follow up with a blood test to determine blood glucose levels. A diagnosis of Diabetes in confirmed when persistetly high levels of glucose are found in both the blood and urine.

How Will I take Care of a Pet with Diabetes?

Although there is no cure for Diabetes, it can be successfully managed with the help of your vet.

Daily insulin injections are usually required to restore the insulin levels and control blood glucose levels. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. We have many clients who have been successfully treating their diabetc pets for years. Apart from giving daily injections, maintaining a strict diet schedule is also part of the treatment program. Your vet is best placed to advise you on the best diet for your pet based on its ideal body weight.

Managing your pet’s diabetes will require some effort but the results are well worth it. Pets shose diabetes is under control have normal thirst, appetite, urination and activity levels. Their weight is generally stable and they are less likely to develop complicatiions.

The best recommendation we can give any of you who may be concerned about your pet’s health is to book a general health check and urine test with your vet. It won’t cost the earth and it’s worth it for peace of mind.