WARNING: Southern Paralysis tick found locally
Over the last 2 years we found the Southern Paralysis tick on some of our patients in the Heathmont area. This nasty parasite, Ixodes Cornuatus, latches onto any warm bodied creature passing them by (usually in bush environments). Most commonly we see dogs affected, but cats and even humans are susceptible! Our last case was a cat!
After attachment to a pet, the tick begins to inject a paralysing toxin, with the first signs of paralysis occurring in about 5-6 days. Initially, the pet is weak or wobbly in its back legs, and may exhibit a change in voice (bark). The pet may be off its food and start to vomit. After this the paralysis spreads forwards, affecting the respiratory muscles, causing laboured breathing and, without treatment, death.
The best possible advice regarding ticks is avoidance! Ticks prefer bushy native terrain and long grass, and warm, moist weather. Check your pet every day for ticks. Ticks can be found anywhere on your pet’s body, with most ticks being found around the head and neck, including in the ears! Ticks can grow up to 1 cm long and are usually a beige or grey colour. The best way to remove a tick is with a purpose-made tick removal tool, otherwise the head may be left behind in the skin. If you remove a tick on your pet and it is not showing any symptoms, you should keep your pet quiet and closely watch them for the next 24-36 hours as signs may still develop.
The good news is that we have excellent products available now to protect our dogs and cats from tick. Bravecto is particularly useful as it combines protection from ticks and cutting edge flea control (lasting 6 months on dogs and 3 months on cats). Combined with daily tick searches, these products help you to feel at ease that your pet is safe from the deadly paralysis tick. Come in and talk to our staff to find out more.