While peak tick season usually kicks off around September, these dangerous parasites can be a cause of concern all year around, especially as we experience an unseasonably long Summer this year.
Paralysis ticks pose a major risk to your pets’ health, with symptoms ranging from mild fever, vomiting to lameness and in severe cases, even death.
You should be checking your outdoor pets for tick infestation every day, year-round. Yes, that means even now in March. Indoor pets should be checked also, as leashed walks and garden foliage can leave your pet vulnerable to ticks. If you have been on holiday to a tick prone area you can bring them home on your return.
To check your pet for ticks:
- Visually and physically look and feel over your pets’ skin.
- Start at the nose, and thoroughly check over the face (including in eyes and ears), the head and neck, and underneath the collar. Move to the chest and front legs and feet (don’t forget between their toes!). Ticks are more commonly found located on the front quarter of an animals’ body, so take care to part fur and check skin or fat rolls, feeling for bumps or craters.
- Work your way over your pets’ tummy, sides, back and tail. You should also check near the anus, groin area and high up under their legs.
Checking your pet can cause some stress to some animals, so try to make it a part of your regular routine. Praise your pet and disguise your investigation as a really good patting session. Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of a tick bite, so keep your pet calm, especially if you find one or more ticks as you search.
Tick removal can pose some threats, especially if the body is squeezed or removed without the head. Direct Vet Servicesare always available to assist with tick removal and can demonstrate how best to do it yourself at home.
To remove a tick:
- Gather your arsenal – you’ll need specialized tick removal tweezers, some alcohol and a vessel to place the tick in, a gentle antiseptic and some paper towel.
- Using your tweezers, pinch the tick gently at the site of entry – as close to head as possible, without disturbing the body.
- Aim to gently leverage the tick from your pets’ body, trying not to force the removal at risk of breaking the parasites body. If you accidently leave the head of the tick inside your pets’ body, you are at risk of a local infection and should contact us immediately.
- Keep your pet comfortable and calm – this may take several attempts but should not be painful. Do not offer your pet anything to eat or drink until you are sure your pet is not suffering from tick toxicity.
If you suspect your dog or cat is feeling poorly, you can identify if a tick bite is the cause by keeping an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased drooling
- Coughing, vomiting and/or feeling unwell
- Difficulty getting up or moving around
- Change in the sound of bark, panting, grunting or retching
- Joint swelling
- Flaring of arthritic symptoms
- Respiratory difficulties
- Lack of coordination in hind legs, which will move to the front legs over time
Veterinary advice should always be sought if you suspect a tick infestation, have removed a tick yourself or are worried about your pet displaying some worrying behavior. Tick toxicity is fast acting and potentially lethal, so medical assistance is always your best bet. Invest in a good over the counter tick medication, spray and/or collar to cover all of your bases and reduce the likelihood of your pet suffering at the hand of the paralysis tick.
There are multiple products available that aid in the prevention of ticks. Monthly products such as Nexgard or Nexgard Spectra (chews) are ideal and can be given a couple of hours before you leave on your trip. Bravecto will last for 3 months, and Seresto collars 4 months for Ticks and 8 months for fleas. Feel free to have a chat with us and we can help you decide on the best product for your needs. Don’t forget that they can be delivered straight to your door by setting up an account at Obay.com.au and log in using our access code VE9IAI8N.
Make a booking to have your pet checked over for ticks or to learn more about safe tick removal at our convenient online booking systemor give us a call on 03 9369 1822 to discuss your tick safe plan in 2019.