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The main tick of concern for pet owners is the Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus) as it can cause paralysis and death within 2-4 days of attachment. Whilst Paralysis Ticks occur naturally only in certain geographic areas (mainly along the coastal eastern seaboard of Australia) they can attach to pets who visit these areas during the warmer months.
Tick prevention can save lives. Monthly and quarterly chews are available for dogs that will help prevent ticks, along with tick collars. The recommended brands are:
Bravecto is a chew that is given quarterly to prevent ticks and fleas for dogs. It is convenient and can be given along with your pets' quarterly intestinal worming tablets. They are available in single dose packs that are given as per your pets weight so be sure to bring your pet with you so we can weigh them while they're here.
Nexgard is a chew that is given monthly to prevent fleas and ticks for dogs. It is extremely palatable and easy to administer. They are available in single doses along with 3 and 6 month supplies. They come in different weight ranges so be sure to bring your pet along so we can weigh them while they're here.
Seresto is a flea and tick collar. The collar will help prevent ticks for up to 4 months in dogs, while continuing to cover fleas for up to 8 months. This is the latest collar on the market, it has no smell and is a great alternative for those pets who will not take any chewable medications. Seresto is also available for cats, however, it is not registered for the ticks.
Frontline spray is a liquid that you can spray on your pet to prevent fleas and ticks. This is the only product that is registered for tick prevention in cats when it is applied every 3 weeks.
What to do if you find a tick on your pet
If you notice a tick on your pet that is not displaying signs of tick paralysis, remove the tick straight away. To do this, grasp the tick firmly where it attaches to your pet’s skin and give a quick sideways pull. It is better not to try and kill the tick first as the dying tick may inject more of its potent toxin into your pet. If you are not confident removing the tick please call us immediately to make an appointment to have it removed.
Once the tick is removed your pet should be kept cool and quiet whilst being closely monitored for 24 hours. If your pet starts to display any signs of tick paralysis, such as vomiting, weakness, staggering, breathing difficulty, or altered bark, seek immediate veterinary attention as this is a genuine veterinary emergency. If your pet is showing any of the above signs, do not offer food or water as these may be accidentally inhaled in tick-affected dogs.
Treatment of tick paralysis includes searching for and removing all ticks. This may include clipping the animal completely and/or the use of medication to kill remaining ticks. Tick antiserum is administered to counteract the toxin and supportive care is provided during recovery. This can be costly in comparison to what it would cost to use tick prevention initially.
I so appreciate the wonderful and knowledgeable staff. Skilled, attentive and caring - thanks Dr Chris for your kind and thoughtful handling of a difficult decision!
Meri M. / Hamilton, New South Wales