We are fortunate in the Aspley, Geebung and Zillmere areas to not see many tick cases. It is usually only when the pet leaves their home to visit bushy areas, coastal regions, camping grounds and areas where there are large number of bandicoots that we see paralysis tick cases.
There are various tick species found on the east coast of Australia:
All ticks can transfer tick-borne diseases or cause a reaction around the bite site. The paralysis tick presents as the greatest risk however, as it injects toxins and can be fatal to your pet. Paralysis ticks will generally spend around three days searching for their attachment site so it may be over a week before signs develop. Once they attach to their host they will inject neurotoxins which will act on the muscular tissue throughout the body. As shown above they are light-grey in colour when they become engorged.
The most common signs noted by owners are:
- change in bark/meow
- hind limb weakness
- vomiting, especially frothy
- paralysis in the area where the tick is attached (eyes may droop, anal incontinence).
If the tick continues to feed, the toxins will continue to be pumped into the blood stream. The paralysis will progress and will become life-threatening or fatal.
Progressed paralysis may present with:
- drooling due to inability to swallow
- unable to stand at all - progression from hind limb weakness
- increased respiratory effort due to respiratory and cardiac muscles becoming paralysed
If left untreated the condition may become irreversible resulting in coma and death.
for further information on tick paralysis.
If you find or suspect your pet may have a tick contact us immediately
. We will be able to remove the tick and ensure the mouth parts are not left behind. Sometimes we may find a tick crater (where the tick was attached) instead of a tick which may still pose a risk to your pet. It will then be discussed and decided, based on your pets symptoms, if your pet should receive tick anti-serum (TAS). This reverses the effects of the toxins, ans works with greater efficacy when given as early as possible.
How to prevent tick attachment and its effects
Prevention is certainly better than cure as tick anti-serum is effective if given early in most cases, but its success in treatment is never guaranteed. There are a variety of products on the market that kill ticks and fleas, although none are proven 100% effective. Therefore tick searches should be performed daily if your pet has been in high-risk areas.
Dog tick products that are available at THE ARK:
It is best to discuss your options with us as all products have pros and cons and may not be suitable for your dog's lifestyle.
Many of the dog tick products are lethal to cats
(spot-on) used fortnightly is a commonly used (off-label) tick preventive for cats. It is important to read the labels of all products before applying them to your pets.
These annoying, little blood-suckers can cause Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), anaemia and restlessness. Warmth and humidity (a typical Brisbane summer!) can make flea populations boom.
Itching and black spots of dirt in the fur (flea dirt) are the tell-tale signs.
'My dog doesn't get fleas'
- you have been fortunate enough to not have fleas brought into your environment. It is the environment not the animal which will determine if your pet will get fleas.
'My dog has fleas but my cat doesn't'
- your cat also has fleas if they are living together. The pet that is itching most is sensitive to flea saliva. The itching pet may also have an inflammatory reaction to the saliva and lesions from excessive scratching. It is important to treat all pets in the household at the same time
to eradicate fleas.
'The flea treatment isn't working'
- although there have been studies showing resistance to certain flea treatments, they are generally very effective (especially tablets). The reason you may find living fleas on your pet after treatment is there are a high number of fleas in the environment. Flea eggs only need heat and moisture to hatch. They develop into larvae (some spot-ons kill the larvae) and then into adults where the majority of products act. Most flea tablets only kill adult fleas and when sick or dying, they are more easily seen as they are no longer hiding. This is usually when they are noticed and suspicion about the efficacy is raised. If you are concerned about the efficacy of your flea treatment call us to have a discussion.
Pets which vomit the flea tablet will not be covered. It is a good idea to keep an eye on your pet post-treatment to check for any vomiting. Some medications only work if given with food so it is important to read the instructions.
'I can't see them, they cant have fleas' -
Fleas in low numbers are very good at hiding. Fleas are also very good at multiplying rapidly so its important to check for fleas at the first signs of itching. If you suspect fleas but cannot see them, it is a good idea to use a flea or lice comb and run it through the hair multiple times above the base of your pets' tail. Wipe the flea/lice comb onto some wet paper towel. If the black spots turn red, this is flea dirt and your pet has fleas.
'They're just ground fleas
fleas are fleas. Treat your pet for them all.
Flea products only kill fleas or their larvae, they do not prevent them so we only actively encourage flea products if your pet has fleas.
Flea products (which we stock) for dogs:
Flea products (which we stock) for cats: