Be Prepared For Tick Season

Spring marks the start of Tick Season and this is proving to be one of the worst tick seasons on record. The tick season started early this year and we have seen a huge increase in tick paralysis cases in both dogs and cats. The holiday season is also fast approaching and many pet owners may be travelling to areas where paralysis tick numbers are expected to be high, in particular coastal regions. Please be alert. Paralysis ticks are the single most dangerous parasite for dogs and cats on the east coast of Australia, and if left untreated can result in death. At WestVETS, we recommend the following:

  1. Prevention is better than cure – make sure you treat your pet with a preventative treatment every two weeks throughout tick season. Repelling ticks before they bite is the key to prevention.
  2. Check your pet every day for ticks – the best way is to feel, not look, for ticks. Start in the common places such as the head and neck, but make sure you search everywhere, including the ears, around the eyes, under the collar, between toes etc. Your pet is bound to enjoy the extra attention!
  3. Be on the lookout for the telltale signs:
    • Weakness in the hind legs or staggering, which may be followed by paralysis;
    • Vomiting or regurgitation;
    • Change in the dog’s bark or cat’s meow due to paralysis of the throat and voice box;
    • Laboured breathing, which may include a ‘grunting’ sound.
  4. If you are travelling with your pet – check with your vet if you will be travelling to an area where there are paralysis ticks. If so, make sure your pet is treated every two weeks and checked for ticks daily.

Cat owners beware! Not all spot-on tick and/or flea treatments are suitable for cats. Please stop, check and read the fine print on your product’s label prior to treating your cat. If you are unsure, please phone us for advice. Many dog spot-ons contain permethrin, which is toxic to cats, causing poisoning that results in atazia, tremors, seizures and death. The effects of toxicity start between 1-12 hours after exposure and last up to 3 days. In the event of permethrin toxicity in your cat, Veterinary intervention is essential.

If you notice any of the signs of tick paralysis or permethrin toxicity in your cat, it is critical to take your pet to your vet immediately. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 3202 7300 if you have any questions or concerns.