RSPCA NSW Vets have already started seeing cats and dogs with tick paralysis on a daily basis. With tick season here, RSPCA NSW is urging pet owners to ensure their pets are given tick prevention treatments and are regularly checked for ticks to avoid serious illness or death – a common issue for pets on the eastern coast of Australia.
The Paralysis Tick can pack a deadly punch. They inject toxins into the animal as they feed, leading to a condition known as tick paralysis. RSPCA NSW Chief Veterinarian Dr Magdoline Awad said there are many symptoms to look out for.
“Early warning signs include lethargy and vomiting. They might pant rapidly; have a loss of appetite, cough or are unable to bark properly,” said Dr Awad. “As symptoms progress, they become weak on their hind legs and have difficulty breathing. If you see any of these signs contact your vet immediately as animals can die within hours if left untreated – early treatment provides the best chance of survival.”
Every pet owner should check for ticks on their pets during the tick season, generally between spring and autumn, as tick prevention products such as collars, spot-ons, sprays or medications are never 100% effective. It’s common for people who take their pets on holidays to the coast to pick up a tick without realising it, so it’s important for everyone to be aware of ticks and plan ahead.
“You can check for ticks by combing through your pet’s fur down to their skin with both hands feeling for anything unusual. Pay particular attention around the head, neck and forelimbs or in other crevices around the body such as the toes where ticks might hide.
“Owners should remove the tick immediately after locating it. Grasp the tick close to its head with tweezers and gentle pull out without twisting it. Check for more ticks because there could be more than one. It’s also important to keep your pet cool and calm and monitor your pet for 24 – 48 hours after removing the tick as signs can still develop.
If you need further assistance or veterinary treatment for your pet, please contact an RSPCA Veterinary hospital near you by calling 9770 7555. RSPCA Veterinary Hospitals are located in Sydney – Yagoona, Rouse Hill, Broken Hill, Hunter – Rutherford and Newcastle – Tighes Hill.