Tick Paral­y­sis

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

There are 70 species of ticks found in Aus­tralia, how­ever only a cou­ple of species are dan­ger­ous to our pets and live­stock.

In Vic­to­ria, dogs and cats may be in­fested by three types of ticks – the brown dog tick, bush ticks and the paral­y­sis tick.

The brown dog tick and bush ticks can cause some ir­ri­ta­tion but are not poi­sonous. Some species of bush tick carry a micro­organ­ism called Thei­le­ria which can cause blood loss and death in cat­tle, but this ill­ness does not af­fect dogs, cats or peo­ple.

Paral­y­sis ticks do not oc­cur nat­u­rally in West Gipp­s­land, but we have seen cases of tick paral­y­sis in dogs and cats that have vis­ited east­ern coastal re­gions in Vic­to­ria.

Im­ma­ture ticks climb up long grass and at­tach them­selves to pass­ing an­i­mals.

They then bury their mouth parts deep in the skin.

As they feed on blood they se­crete a venom which causes weak­ness and inco-or­di­na­tion, cough­ing, retch­ing or vom­it­ing, loss of voice and breath­ing dif­fi­culty.

These signs can ap­pear as early as five days af­ter the tick at­taches and some­times up to 18 days.

The tick should be re­moved us­ing tweez­ers or a spe­cial tick hook (avail­able from the Drouin Vet Clinic), you can wash the dog in tick rinses and this will kill the tick in situ with­out it re­leas­ing any more toxin.

Sim­ply re­mov­ing the tick is no guar­an­tee that the signs will im­prove.

If you find a tick on your pet, you should take it straight to the vet.

An­i­mals that show signs of tick paral­y­sis will need prompt treat­ment with anti-venom and sup­port­ive care.

Tick paral­y­sis is a life threat­en­ing con­di­tion and some pets will not sur­vive de­spite the best treat­ment.

At the Drouin Vet Clinic we rec­om­mend ap­pro­pri­ate pre­ven­tion if you are tak­ing your pets to east­ern Vic­to­ria. Please visit us at 4 Sin­clair Street, Drouin for your tick pre­ven­tion sup­plies.

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