Tick risk high for dogs and cats

We are being urged to keep our eyes peeled for paralysis ticks, with the weather really warming up.

Reedy Creek Veterinary Hospital is joining media veterinarian Doctor Katrina Warren in warning pet owners to be compliant not complacent when it comes to protection.

With paralysis tick and flea cases already being reported, Reedy Creek Veterinarian Matt Lawton said now is the time to start being proactive.


He said “everyone thinks that tick season is the summer months and unfortunately here on the Gold Coast we are in a bit of a hot spot so we do see ticks all year around but our worst time of year is usually the end of winter and spring so those sort of August, September, October is usually really when we see our most ticks”.

He added that we see the deadly paralysis ticks on the east coast of Australia “it actually injects a venom and absolutely it is a potentially fatal disease if not picked up and treated, or not picked up early enough”.

Doctor Lawton also said it could be a good idea to keep a “tick twister” at home if you do live in an area where the risk of crossing paths with a paralysis tick is high.

Doctor Katrina has seen the devastating effects of paralysis ticks first hand, and is urging pet owners to talk to a local vet about paralysis ticks and fleas now, to avoid heartache later.

“I have seen first-hand the reality of not protecting dogs against paralysis ticks and fleas. Over the past twenty years I have seen many heart breaking situations where people have lost their beloved dogs to tick paralysis or spent thousands of dollars in vet bills. These ticks can be lethal and preventative treatment, coupled with daily searching for ticks on your dog, is absolutely essential. Talk to your vet and be prepared this tick and flea season with the right plan for long-lasting protection.”

Australia’s paralysis tick season runs from about September to March – the time when adult female ticks are most abundant1 but can vary region to region. Unique to Australia’s eastern seaboard, the paralysis tick – Ixodes holocyclus – causes a huge problem every year and is the single most dangerous parasite for dogs with just one tick capable of causing paralysis and even death.

The paralysis tick causes symptoms in a variety of forms, but typically starts with weakness of the hindquarters, progressing to total paralysis of all four legs.

Other early symptoms include the appearance that the dog has something stuck in its throat, vomiting or heavy, loud breathing.

Dogs should be inspected daily for ticks and, if a tick is found, it needs to be removed immediately with finger nails, tweezers or a tick-removing device.

After removal of the tick, if owners are unsure as to whether their dog is showing any symptoms of tick paralysis, they need to contact their local vet immediately. Due to the devastating effects of paralysis tick on dogs, treatment following infestation is not always successful.

Although summer is the prime season for fleas, many homes and pets have problems year round because of the warm climate, so it’s important that pets are treated regularly through the year.

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