Coffs Harbour vets issue tick season warning

05 . 06 . 14

Coffs Harbour vets are leading with a precautionary advice warning on the upcoming tick season.

Now is the time of year that Coffs Coast residents must ensure that they have their pets as protected against Paralysis Ticks as they possibly can.  This means that you need to be using one of the topical products that aid in the control of ticks and searching your pet daily for ticks.

A very common error that pet owners make is not applying products such as Frontline or Advantix at the correct frequency-both of these products must be applied every two weeks for tick control.

For more information on tick control come in and see us.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A TICK

Remove the tick using a tick twister (an implement designed for tick removal – available at our vet clinics), fingers or tweezers. Try to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, and twist the tick – this will help to dislodge the mouthparts from the skin. Put the tick in a sealable container or ziplock bag (alive if possible) to be identified by a vet if your pet requires veterinary attention.

Always look for another tick! If your pet has one tick this signifies that they have been somewhere ticks are present, which means there could be more.

If your animal is already showing signs of tick paralysis, immediate veterinary attention is required.

Coffs Harbour vet Andrew from Rose Avenue Vet Clininc recommend a visit to us if you have found a Paralysis Tick on your pet even if  all seems to be normal. However if you are confident that none of the signs of tick paralysis are present and decide not to see a vet close monitoring is essential particularly over the following few days.  The signs to watch for include the following;

  • ATAXIA – wobbly when walking, usually starting with the back legs.
  • RETCHING/VOMITING – retching/coughing after eating/drinking can mean your pet is not swallowing properly. This can also be unrelated to feeding and can be quite persistent.
  • ANOREXIA-reluctance to eat.
  • WEAKNESS – sometimes your pet may look steady on their feet but may have trouble getting up, or trouble with stairs.
  • LACK OF BLINK REFLEX – paralysis of the eyelids can be quite subtle, check for a full blink (where the eyelid fully closes) by lightly tapping the corner of each eye. This sign can sometimes indicate the location of the tick – if the tick has attached on the left side of the head, often the left eye will be more affected than the right. Sometimes you may think your pet is blinking fully but the eyelids aren’t quite meeting – this can manifest as a ‘gunky eye’.
  • DYSPNOEA – increased respiratory effort. In severe cases your pet may be anxious and panting, or have a notable increase in effort breathing. Some affected animals make an abnormal noise when breathing, like a grunt or a wheeze.
  • ABNORMAL VOCALISATION – paralysis of the vocal chords can affect your pet’s voice, so if its quieter than usual or sounds different, this can be a sign of tick paralysis.
  • SORE –  paralysis ticks bury their mouthparts deep into the skin and cause quite a big skin reaction (leaving a large crater), so this can be quite sore. Some dogs will resent you checking these areas, so get someone to help you hold the dog to check more closely in sensitive spots.
  • ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR – cats in particular sometimes don’t show the ‘classical’ signs of tick paralysis until severely affected, but often owners pick up on them being ‘not quite right’ quite early on. If you are concerned, call or visit your vet.