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.
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
Information contained in the blog courtesy of Virbac Animal Health