Pug ugly parasite is coming to a pet near you soon
VETERINARIANS are bracing themselves for the paralysis tick season, from September through to March, and a local Lismore veterinarian encouraged dog and cat owners to proactively protect their pets from the deadly parasite.
Unique to Australia's eastern seaboard, the paralysis tick - Ixodes holocyclus - is the single most dangerous parasite for dogs and cats with just one tick capable of causing paralysis and even death.
Dr Richard Creed from Lismore Vet Clinic urged dog and cat owners to prioritise prevention to avoid an expensive and sometimes heartbreaking trip to the vet.
"I too often see the devastating effects of tick paralysis on dogs and cats, and the financial emotional impact this has on their owners," Dr Creed said.
"Paralysis ticks are preventable, so there's no reason for our pets to die from a preventable disease.
"Unfortunately for us pet owners in Lismore, the prevalence of paralysis ticks is high, especially now during peak season.
"The good news is, there's long-lasting preventive treatment options available for both dogs and cats, so I urge pet owners to contact their local vet and protect their pet.
"Don't leave it until it's too late."
To minimise the risk of tick paralysis, Dr Creed encouraged pet owners to address three key areas:
1. Preventive treatment - Every at-risk dog and cat should have access to effective tick prevention.
2. Daily inspections - Daily inspection gives the best chance of finding a tick before severe symptoms develop. Use your finger tips to feel your pet's coat. Start at the head and work your hands down to each paw, ensuring you check every fold and between each claw for any lumps. If you find a tick, consult your vet immediately so that they can show you the best removal method.
3. Symptoms - Dogs developing tick paralysis typically show weakness of their back legs and a wobbly walk, which then progresses to total paralysis of all four legs. They may also regurgitate food due to weakness of muscles in their throat and oesophagus.
Cats get agitated and develop an odd breathing pattern with a soft grunt as they breathe out. Weakness is typically less obvious to their owners, at least in the early stages.