Defusing the Tick-ing time bomb
Is your dog or cat immune to the threat of the paralysis tick? Unfortunately, if you live in a paralysis tick area, the answer is probably no. Dogs and cats can be a perfect host for paralysis ticks. Paralysis ticks can attach to your pet, often when wandering through bushy areas, thick grass or vegetation.
How bad for your pets are paralysis ticks?
In one word - very. Once they’ve found their way onto an animal’s fur, paralysis ticks can quickly reach the skin and attach themselves. When they’ve latched on, they suck blood and also secrete a nasty toxin. If the tick is left undetected on your pet, its toxin can be very dangerous – even fatal.
Some of the symptoms related to the tick toxin include:
- Loss of coordination in the hind legs
- A change in the voice or bark, or coughing
- Loss of appetite, vomiting, retching and regurgitation
- Noisy grunting and breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Anxiety, hypersensitivity and distress
- Progressive paralysis
You may also be able to see red and raised skin around where the tick has attached itself or a ‘tick crater’ may appear.
How long does it take for tick symptoms to appear?
In many cases signs of a paralysis tick won’t appear until the tick has been attached on your pet for several days. Not all of the above-listed symptoms may be noticeable, and some of them are often confused with other pet illnesses. Unfortunately, this means some owners put off taking their pet to the veterinary clinic.
What can I do if my pet has a tick?
The first thing is to remove the tick and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will assess your pet and then treat for tick toxicity if required.
Symptoms can take a while to show and unfortunately delay in removing the tick or treating the toxicity can result in your pet’s death. As always, prevention is better than cure. If you find a tick on your pet, don’t forget to continue searching for more.
How can I help protect my pet from paralysis ticks?
- Avoid the tick habitat. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you are living in or planning to travel to a paralysis tick area. Paralysis ticks are generally found on the eastern seaboard of Australia, but can be found in slightly different areas and at different times every year.
- Thoroughly check your pet’s skin and coat every day during the paralysis tick season - even if you’re using a tick control product. Feel and look for unusual lumps, and if you find a tick, remove it straight away and call your veterinarian.
- Use a tick control product. If you have a dog use FRONTLINE PLUS® every 2 weeks. For cats, use FRONTLINE® SPRAY every 3 weeks. Always remember to read the label instructions. To remind you when a treatment is due, you can sign up for free email and SMS reminders at www.frontlineplus.com.au.
® FRONTLINE and FRONTLINE PLUS are registered trademarks of Merial. © Merial Limited. All rights reserved. FRLN-09-158