BEWARE - the whole of the Northern Beaches has high tick numbers. The main season is September to February however we consistently see cases all year round.
Please make sure that your pet is on adequate tick prevention and that you are doing daily tick searches. Also consider getting your animal clipped if they have a long coat to aid in rapid location of a tick.
Paralysis ticks can range in size from a 1mm nymph tick to 10mm fully engorged adult. They are a light grey colour (darker/browner when nymphs) with all their legs near their head at one end of the body. TICKS OF ALL LIFE STAGES AND ALL SIZES CAN CAUSE PARALYSIS.
Generally, ticks are found on the front of your pet’s body (i.e. from the elbows forward) but can still be found anywhere – in their ears, between their toes, under the armpits and around the anus and vulva. Pay close attention to the pet’s nose and muzzle when searching.
In tick season, you must CHECK YOUR PET ALL OVER, EVERY DAY!
REMEMBER, NO PRODUCT IS 100% EFFECTIVE - DAILY TICK SEARCHES ARE IMPORTANT!
We recommend the following products to help control ticks:
Nexgard / Nexgard Spectra Chew - 1 chew every 4 weeks
Bravecto Chew - 1 chew every 3 months
Bravecto Spot On - 1 spot on every 6 months
Advantix Spot-on apply every 2 weeks
This is toxic to cats- do not use on cats and use with caution in households with cats.
Frontline Spot-on - apply every 2 weeks- this is safer for households with cats than Advantix.
Frontline Spray - apply every 3 weeks. Apply 4 pumps per kg bodyweight, all over the body - this means the animal is soaked in the product
If you need help in applying any of these products or want to make sure your are applying them correctly, please feel free to contact us. We can organise a time to either apply the product for you, or demonstrate how to do it correctly.
Seresto/Tick collars - lasts 6 months for ticks. Caution: do not use when dog is in contact with water (bathing or swimming)
With any topical products the animal must not be bathed 48 hours either side of applying the product
Please contact us to discuss which collars are safe with which spot on prevention.
Bravecto / Bravecto Plus Spot On - 1 spot on every 3 months
Frontline Spray- apply every 3 weeks. Apply 4 pumps per kg bodyweight, all over the body - this means the animal is soaked in the product
Never use a dog tick prevention product on your cat without checking with a vet first. These products have varying efficacy in cats and can be toxic.
It is a good idea to consider clipping your cat (especially long haired cats) during tick season to help aid daily tick searched.
Symptoms to monitor for:
Disinterest in food or difficulties eating
Vomiting or dry retching
Wobbly/ weak hind legs (as disease progresses paralysis extends to forelimbs)
Laboured or difficult breathing
If you notice any of these symptoms even without finding a tick please contact us immediately.
What if I find a tick?
If you find a tick on your pet, but they are not showing any clinical signs the tick can be removed and the animal should be monitored for any development of clinical signs. If you are confident to do so, please feel free to remove the tick at home, if not please come to the surgery for us to remove it for you.
It is imperative to closely monitor your pet after a tick has been removed. It can take up to 48 hours for clinical signs to develop. We advise you to keep your animal rested with no exercise or stressful, excitable situations during this 48 hour period.
If your pet starts to show any symptoms please contact us immediately, as they will likely need treatment to tick paralysis ASAP.
Tick Paralysis Treatment
Every case of tick paralysis is different, due to variations in the number and size of ticks causing the paralysis and the way it effects an individual animal. In its classic mild form an animal will have mild weakness to the back legs but it can progress rapidly to causing complete collapse and breathing difficulties. The age, health and breed of your pet can all effect how the paralysis toxin affects them.
If identified and addressed early, an animal will be treated and hospitalised for approx 24-48hrs but in more severe cases there can be a need for oxygen supplementation or ventilation, which can lead to prolonged hospital stay and potential life threatening complications. Tick paralysis at any stage is however very serious. The progression of recovery can be unpredictable and a seemingly stable animal can become critical (or die) without warning.
It is important that if you think your pet may be showing clinical signs of tick paralysis that you get them checked by a vet as soon as possible. Prompt treatment is the key to increasing the likelihood of a good outcome.
Even with the best treatment, tick paralysis can still prove fatal so PREVENTION IS THE KEY!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can my pet become immune to ticks?
Yes. Your pet can build up an immunity to the tick toxin when exposed to ticks on a regular basis, but it is erratic and may only last one season. Never assume your pet's previous exposure to ticks will provide adequate protection.
Does treatment prevent further poisoning?
No. Anti-serum is not a vaccination and won’t protect your pet after treatment. In fact, the more often its treated the more likely it is to have an anaphylactic (allergic) reaction to the anti-serum.
How long does the tick have to been on my animal before they are poisoned?
In warm summer weather complete engorgement of the tick can take up to 6 days. In winter it can be as long as 21 days. Animals react differently to the poison, so while some may take a few days to start showing symptoms once the tick is attached and feeding, others can take hours.
Why is treatment so expensive?
The treatment is complicated, requires 24/7 care, and many of the procedures and medications used (such as the anti-serum) are very expensive. Different cases can vary greatly in cost, depending on the severity of the poisoning. We will provide you with an initial estimate of costs for treatment when your pet is admitted to hospital, however you need to be prepared for changes over the course of the treatment. We always aim to keep you updated on a regular basis.
What can I do to prevent ticks getting on my pet?
Unfortunately there is no complete treatment or 100 % guaranteed prevention available for pets. Most vets however, will recommend an integrated routine to keep ticks off your pet – involving one or more tick preventative products (e.g. chews, topical products, or sprays) and daily tick searching. It is also a good idea to clip long haired pets in summer.
When it comes to tick poisoning and your pets - remember…
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
(It’s also a lot cheaper)