Now that summer is well underway it’s time to be vigilant with any cats or dogs you own that go outside. Warm conditions are perfect for paralysis ticks to breed in. Paralysis ticks are found all over the east coast of Australia and can be deadly to cats, dogs and, in some cases, livestock.
38 paralysis ticks all taken from one dog. Sadly this story didn’t have a happy ending.
It only takes one paralysis tick to endanger a small pet’s life. The toxin the tick injects while feeding on the animal’s blood paralyses muscle tissue, including the muscles that control movement, breathing and the heart. If you live anywhere on the east coast of Australia it’s vital you follow these simple steps to ensure that your cat or dog is safe this tick season:
Prevention is the Number One Cure: Sometimes it can seem like a waste of money to buy expensive tick collars or topical pesticides when you may never have seen a tick in your area. However, paralysis ticks that haven’t fed are extremely small and are virtually impossible to spot in the wild. Keeping up-to-date with tick collars and medications like Advantix could mean that you won’t ever have to see a tick on your beloved pet.
Check Every Day: At the end of each day, make an effort to sit down with your pet and thoroughly check them over for any ticks that may have latched onto them. The best way to do this is to simply give them a good pat session, running your hand along every inch of their body. Don’t forget to look between toes, under the tail and in ears.
Stay Out of Long Grass: Paralysis ticks love long grass as it provides them with safety as well as giving them the perfect launching point to get onto your pet. Have you ever taken your dog for a walk only for them to shove their face into a shrub or clump of grass? This is when they’re most likely to pick up ticks, but ticks can be picked up from any where there’s some form of vegetation, including lawns.
This cat's sitting right in a paralysis tick's living room
But what do you do when you find a tick on your pet? The first thing to do is to remove the tick. Either with your fingers or a pair of tweezers grasp the tick tightly around the head (this can be tricky if it has a particularly full stomach) and pull sharply. Don’t worry if you think part of the tick has stayed in your pet – the most important thing is that the tick’s no longer injecting toxin.
A roll in long summer grass can have nasty repercussions
However, once the tick is removed, your pet may not be out of the woods. Keep a close eye on their behaviour and look out for loss of control of limbs, particularly back legs, or laboured breathing. If your pet shows any of these signs take it to the vet right away to be treated.