Tick­ing time bomb for fur friends

Pet own­ers need to be vig­i­lant with tick pre­ven­tion

Sunshine Coast Daily - - YOUR SAY -

PET In­sur­ance Aus­tralia is re­mind­ing all pet owner to get up-to-date with their tick pre­ven­tion, par­tic­u­larly in high risk ar­eas, or if head­ing away on a pet friendly va­ca­tion.

“We’ve just come off a very long dry win­ter in Aus­tralia, and if we get any amount of rain in the next few weeks or months the tick pop­u­la­tion could boom,” Na­dia Crighton from Pet In­sur­ance Aus­tralia says.

“We’ve been pretty lucky the past few years with these lit­tle crit­ters as the hot­ter and dryer weather, par­tic­u­larly on the east coast of Aus­tralia, has been keep­ing in­ci­dents down.”

PIA is warn­ing the Aus­tralian pub­lic that this sit­u­a­tion could change quickly and that pet own­ers need to con­tinue be­ing vig­i­lant with tick pre­ven­tion.

“The num­bers clearly show that the rate of tick in­fes­ta­tion and as­so­ci­ated prob­lems is drop­ping due to the weather and the con­tin­ued up-take of tick pre­ven­tion,” she says.

“State by state shows a steady yearly in­crease of pet own­ers pur­chas­ing tick pre­ven­ta­tive med­i­ca­tion, while the in­fes­ta­tion num­bers are de­creas­ing or stay­ing around same.”

This is a won­der­ful in­di­ca­tion that the med­i­ca­tions that pre­vent ticks are work­ing and that Aus­tralian pet own­ers are sig­nif­i­cantly re­duc­ing the rate pets are af­fected by ticks.

How­ever, pet own­ers need to be care­ful not to let their guard down as a good down­pour­ing of rain could sig­nal tick num­bers to rise rapidly, leav­ing some pets sus­cep­ti­ble.

“Paral­y­sis tick is far the worst type of tick that your pet can carry,” she says. “These ticks have the abil­ity to cause se­ri­ous med­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions in our com­pan­ion an­i­mals.”

Af­ter at­tach­ing to your pet, a paral­y­sis tick will re­lease a toxin through their saliva that can di­rectly af­fect the ner­vous sys­tem.

“If you sus­pect your pet is suf­fer­ing from tick paral­y­sis ur­gent veterinary treat­ment is im­por­tant,” Ms Crighton warns. “The sooner your pet is given treat­ment the bet­ter.”

Treat­ment re­quires the ad­min­is­tra­tion of a com­mer­cial tick an­ti­serum. Some an­i­mals may also re­quire as­sis­tance breath­ing dur­ing this process, which can be a ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all in­volved.

“The best form of at­tack is pre­ven­tion and daily checks,” Ms Crighton says.

“The pre­ven­tion avail­able to pet own­ers works and it is sav­ing count­less pets from this hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Symp­toms in­clude: voice disor­der or change in bark (for dogs), re­gur­gi­ta­tion (cats), par­tial loss of mus­cle move­ments, un­usual be­hav­iour, loss of move­ment in the hind quar­ters, vom­it­ing, un­steadi­ness, dif­fi­culty in eat­ing, un­usual breath­ing and ex­ces­sive drool­ing.

If you find a tick on your beloved pet it is very im­por­tant to re­move it quickly and cor­rectly. If you do not re­move it cor­rectly your pet can still be­come very ill.

Hav­ing a Tick Twis­ter on hand is a great way to en­sure you have re­moved the tick cor­rectly.

Even if you have re­moved the tick, watch your pet care­fully for any signs of paral­y­sis and call your vet for ad­vice.

Tick toxin is slow mov­ing so you will need to mon­i­tor your pet. Some tick paral­y­sis has taken sev­eral days to show af­ter the tick has been re­moved, so seek­ing veterinary ad­vice is paramount.

Photo: David Nielsen

LURK­ING DAN­GER: Pet own­ers are ad­vised to speak with their lo­cal vet about paral­y­sis ticks, as some ar­eas that were once tick free are now be­com­ing in­vaded.

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