Ticks are a common problem within Australia, especially among dogs, with the season starting around September. This means that the beginning of spring is the ideal time to remind yourself to protect your pets from these nasty little critters that can become deadly.
Ticks are a parasite that feeds of the ‘host’ in order to grow, develop and reproduce. They thrive off warmer, humid weather which means they are most active during spring and summer – although can be found all year round. They are most commonly found in long grass, dense bushland, pet bed and kennels, and can cause a wide range of troubles for your pet.
There are a wide range of ticks found in Australia, many of whom will just leave a bite wound that causes no injury but is susceptible to infection. However, the paralysis tick is the most problematic among pet owners in Australia. These are mostly found in bushland with their host animals being mainly native Australian animals. The paralysis tick can find its way on to humans and pets alike, and can kill a dog with one bite. The tick will bite the pet and inject a neurotoxin in to the bloodstream which can cause progressive paralysis of the muscles and start affecting the major organs.
The most common advice from a vet will be that prevention is much better than a cure. Preventing ticks is a whole lot cheaper and safer than trying to treat the condition once your cat or dog has been bitten. These preventative measures can come in the form of tablets, a regular application of an appropriate product, and tick collars.
It is important to do thorough research in to tick prevention products and get one that not only kills ticks, but repels them as well. Tablets are recommended as they are ingested and fully protect the pet, whereas sprays and other treatments may only protect a small area of your dog.
Not only should you be giving your dog tick prevention products, you should be manually checking them daily for any signs of these parasites. This can be done by running your fingers through your dog’s coat and checking around their head, neck, chest, mouth, and between their toes as these are the main areas.
Depending on the area you live in, your pet may be more susceptible to ticks – even with continuous treatments. Hopefully these preventative measures keep ticks away from your pets, however it is important to know the signs of a tick bite so that you can act immediately. Some of the main symptoms are:
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargic or depressed
- Coughing or vomiting
- Breathing difficulties
- Arthritis or joint swelling
- Weakness in hind legs which can lead to overall paralysis
Your dog’s health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance, therefore if you notice any of these symptoms it is imperative that you act quickly and contact your vet ASAP. Tick bites can turn serious in a matter of hours and treatment should be sought after at the first signs of something is wrong.