The warmer seasons bring out the sun, smiles and….paralysis ticks!

The paralysis tick may be small but it can cause huge problems for your pet. Once attached to a host it produces a potent toxin that can cause potentially fatal paralysis in dogs and cats. Consequently, as local pet owners, is it essential that you are aware of paralysis ticks, and to how to best safeguard your pet.

What does the paralysis ticks look like?

They have eight legs, are blue to light grey in colour and can grow from 2mm in diameter to over 1cm in diameter (when engorged with blood).

How can I protect my pet?

Talk to the Templestowe Veterinary Clinic about the tick control treatments for your pet. It is important to speak to professional and purchase the right treatment, as some dog products are highly toxic to cats.

Tick control products do help minimise the risk of your pet picking up a tick, however they do not provide 100 per cent protection. Therefore, it important to take other preventative action, and know what to do if something does happen.

You can also discuss tick removal during your consultation. There are certain tools that can be purchased for “home” tick removal but this is something to be discussed with a professional.

Below are some further helpful tick tips.

Try to avoid tick habitat:

  • Don’t take your dog walking in bush or scrub areas as these places are home to native animals, who are natural tick hosts
  • Keep lawns and shrubs trimmed short
  • Remove compost matter from your backyard

Frequently check your pet’s skin:

  • Remove collars
  • Check their entire body
  • Pay close attention to the body from the front legs onwards as the armpits, neck, face and earsin particular are heaven for ticks
  • Look for red, raised or thickened areas of skin
  • Feel for small, wart sized or lumps
  • If you do find a tick, don’t stop looking! If there is one tick, there are likely to be more…

What are the symptoms of tick paralysis?

  • Wobbly back legs
  • Difficulty rising from the ground
  • A change in the sound of their bark or meow
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Quicken breath
  • Grunting noises
  • Any other out of character behaviour

What should you do if I find a tick or my pet shows symptoms?

Bring you pet into our clinic as soon as possible.

If a tick is found it should be removed immediately, either by yourself (if this is something you have discussed previously during a consultation) or by one of our veterinarians. The aim to quickly but carefully remove the tick by it’s head, which is the point of their attachment to the skin, so a confident hand should do it!

On the way to Templestowe Veterinary Clinic

Keep your pet calm

Make sure your pet remains at a comfortable temperature (not too hot or cold)

Do not offer food or water, the tick’s toxin can affect the airways.

Paralysis ticks have the potential to cause great harm to pets, and distress for Pet Parents. We are here to help, so if you have any further questions or want further information about tick paralysis prevention, please feel free pop into the clinic, or give us a call on  9850 5046