Ticks

Preventing paralysis ticks

Tick Season, Beware

The Tick Prevention Pack

We recommend the following as a minimum

Dogs

Our current recommendations are based upon the last three tick seasons and all belong to the new very effective group of isoxazolines

Simparica given orally every month - our favoured product - but also available are Nexgard and Bravecto that may more specifically appeal to your dog

 

Daily tick searching remains a MUST

For the past 3 years we have NOT had one case of tick poisoning of a dog that has been on any of these drugs - an incredible result

Cats

At long last we have a safe isoxazoline for cats - Bravecto top spot. This is the first season (2018-19) of its use and we highly recommend you change over from your older tick preventatives to this new product ASAP. If it has half the success that it has in dogs that will be a great advance. At the end of this tick season we will report on our experience with this product

Daily tick searching is again essential, don't become complacent

avail yourself of a Tick Twister - these are great for complete easy removal of tiny larval to large adult ticks, available at our front desk

General Notes

The poisoning of your pet by a paralysis tick is as serious as a bite from a poisonous snake

Seeking urgent veterinary attention for animals affected by tick paralysis is just as important as it is for those affected by snake poisoning

Well over a thousand pets die from tick paralysis each year

Several toxic fractions are injected into an animal from the salivary glands of the paralysis tick when it is attached and these toxins can cause many complications

Early treatment with tick paralysis antiserum and hospitalisation will result in saving your pet's life in nearly all cases

We currently note that "tick season runs from mid-August to the end of March". We rarely see tick poisoning outside this window

Signs of tick paralysis

The earliest signs often suggest that your pet has something caught in its throat or the back legs are not working properly

Other commonly noticed changes are vomiting, heavy breathing with a grunt and alteration to your pet's vocal sounds

While signs vary from patient to patient the usual course is a progressive paralysis with subsequent loss of use of back and front legs.

Some animals, especially cats, may become distressed, anxious and confused

Eventually there is an inability to breathe in enough oxygen as the lungs develop congestion and chest muscles become paralysed

When animals are fully paralysed the chances of saving them are greatly reduced

If you think your pet has a tick, do not give anything by mouth

Contact a veterinary surgeon urgently, keep your pet cool and as calm as possible. Remove the tick immediately and take your dog or cat to the vet

TREATMENT

Your veterinary surgeon will consider a possible tick case as an emergency and arrange for a definite diagnosis to be made as soon as possible

It is often necessary for your pet's coat to be clipped off to find the tick or the crater left in the skin where a tick was attached

While antiserum and hospitalisation involve some expense both are nearly always essential if you want to ensure your pet has the best chance of survival

Hospitalisation is very important, as there are often serious complications that require assessment and other medications, which can only be given by injection

In severe / high risk cases animals will be transported to our After Hours Service for continuous overnight monitoring . This can add quite a bit of additional expense to a case so it is not done as a routine, only when the vet in charge deems it necessary or if you yourself prefer it, this will be discussed with a client in advance of any transfer

Outcomes

Some animals survive without treatment. Unfortunately some animals will die despite being given all the appropriate treatment. Because the chances of successful treatment decrease as the symptoms progress and there is no way of telling which animals will survive without treatment, the only way to ensure your pet has the best chance of survival is to seek early veterinary treatment

Performing a tick search

Daily searching of your pet by thoroughly feeling with the finger tips and removing ticks before they inject toxic levels of poison is the safest way to prevent tick paralysis

Be sure to remove the collar and thoroughly check the head, neck and shoulders as 90% of the ticks will be found in this area

Immunity

There is no vaccination available against the paralysis tick

Some animals develop a natural immunity after exposure to several ticks

The antiserum is made by collecting blood from dogs kept immune by controlled exposure to ticks

It is expensive because there is no way to manufacture it chemically