Protect Your Pets From Paralysis Ticks
Every year, dogs and cats across Brisbane die from tick paralysis. Wet weather and warmer temperatures in the summer are the ideal time for paralysis ticks to be out in force. That is why it is important to be aware of the dangers they pose to your pets and to know what to do if you think they may have been bitten. In this post, we outline everything you need to know about paralysis ticks in Brisbane, from what they are, their symptoms and ways to prevent infection.
What Are Paralysis Ticks?
Ticks are small insect that attaches to the skin of an animal or person. There are many species of the tick but one of the most concern in Brisbane is the paralysis tick. Although it can be difficult to differentiate between tick species, there are physical differences that allow us to identify paralysis ticks.
An adult paralysis tick can be as small as a pinhead when it first attaches to your pet, but over several days can grow to the size of a thumbnail once fully engorged! Paralysis ticks are generally grey in colour with all of their legs being concentrated towards the head of the tick.
Are There Paralysis Ticks in Brisbane?
Paralysis ticks (Ixodes holycyclus) are found throughout most of Brisbane but are particularly prevalent in the Western Suburbs due to the large areas of dense bushland still found in these suburbs.
Ticks thrive in this environment where they feed on native wildlife such as possums and bandicoots, which are generally unaffected by the tick toxin. Although ticks are more prevalent in summer, they genuinely pose a year-round threat in South East Queensland, owing to our temperate climate.
If you are not sure what type of tick is on your dog or cat contact The House Call Vet immediately to assist in identification and emergency treatment. Tick paralysis poses a very real risk of death if not treated promptly.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Tick Bite?
Most tick species are harmless, however, paralysis ticks are much more than a nuisance and pose a serious threat to the health of your pets.
Although they cannot jump like fleas, ticks will sit on grass blades and leaves where they can easily attach to a host animal. While feeding, a paralysis tick secrets its toxic saliva into the bloodstream that attacks the nervous system directly, leading to the loss of voluntary movement of your beloved companion.
In most instances the dog or cat will show signs of tick paralysis within 3-4 days for the tick attaching itself to your pet. The signs that you will most commonly see if your pet is affected are:
- Change in the tone of bark or meow
- Coughing, gagging or vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Obvious drooling and lack of swallowing
- Trouble standing up
- Wobbly on legs
- Unable to use or weakness in back legs
- General weakness or lack of co-ordination
- Trouble blinking, usually starts in one eye
- Difficulty breathing, will sound like the pet is grunting when breathing out
Tick paralysis in dogs and cats is life threatening and it is essential that you contact your vet if you think they are affected by a tick or you find a tick on your pet.
What Do I Do If I Find a Paralysis Tick?
Finding a tick can be scary! You will find yourself asking – should I remove the tick? Quick action is crucial! It is recommended that you remove the tick immediately.
Grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible using your fingers or a set of tweezers. Then firmly pull on the tick to remove it. Do not worry if you burst the tick or leave part of the head behind – this will not result in more toxin being injected.
After removal, keep the tick for identification purposes and contact The House Call Vet if your pet begins to display signs or symptoms of illness.
How Do I Protect Against Paralysis Ticks?
It’s never too later to start a paralysis tick prevention routine. Preventing your pet from the dangers and discomfort caused by these parasites is much more affordable than treating your pet after they have become sick. This is why it is essential for your pet to be fully protected by ticks.
There is a number of ways you can reduce the risk of a tick infestation – from collars and topical treatments to avoiding tick prone areas and regular washing and coat checks.
Visit the House Call Vet today or shop online for a wide range of tick prevention products such as spot-on applications, tick collars and tick rinses.