There are several ticks native to Australia, the main tick of concern is the paralysis tick. This tick injects a toxin into the blood stream of pets causing paralysis with death possible within 2-4 days of attachment.
Ticks occur naturally on the coastal areas of eastern Australia in a roughly 20 kilometre inland strip. Pets that travel to these areas are at risk of picking up ticks especially if they walk through bush areas. Ticks are most common in spring and summer especially if there is rainfall but ticks can occur all year round if conditions are right.
Tick paralysis can be seen in pets that have been to the coast in the last 2 weeks or when the pet has been in contact with other animals or objects that are carrying ticks eg camping equipment.
If you see a tick on your pet, remove it as soon as possible by grasping it firmly and pulling it off. Don’t try to kill the tick first as this may cause the tick to inject toxin into the animal. Keep the pet under observation: quiet, do not allow to become overheated or exercise. Phone us on 02 4821 1966 for advice.
Early signs of tick paralysis include incoordination (falling over and stumbling), vomiting, loss of voice and difficulty breathing. Treatment involves finding and removing the tick, hospitalization and giving antiserum. If your pet is showing any signs of paralysis seek veterinary attention.
There are many forms of tick preventatives including spot-ons applied to the skin, chews and tick collars. No preventative can be guaranteed to give 100% protection you must search your pet daily for ticks whilst in tick areas and when you get home.
Tick preventatives should be applied to the pet well before entering a tick area and will need to be reapplied if your pet is in the area for an extended time. Our staff will be happy to give you advice on the preventatives available and their usage.
Beware some tick preventatives (containing pyrethroids) can be toxic to cats, always read the label.