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Ticks thrive in humid, warm weather but can be found across the country throughout the year. The Paralysis Tick is commonly found along the east coast of Australia, however there have been reported cases inland, in parts of Western Australia and even in Melbourne.
Ticks attach to the skin of your dog to feed off their blood.The female Paralysis Tick has a toxin in her saliva, which is injected into the dog as she feeds off their blood. The longer the tick is attached, the more dangerous it becomes and more severe the paralysis.
This toxin causes progressive paralysis, often starting with the back legs. Other signs can include lethargy, a change in bark, regurgitating, coughing, vomiting, salivating, inability to blink, difficulty urinating, panting or breathing difficulty. Tick paralysis is potentially fatal, so affected dogs need to be seen by a vet immediately, no matter how mild the signs are. Early treatment can be life saving.
There are a number of tick preventatives available. They can be taken orally or applied topically to the coat but it’s best to discuss with your vet what the right treatment for your dog should be.
For cat owners, it’s important to note that certain dog tick preventatives are highly toxic to cats, so check with your vet which products are safe.
While these preventative measures are terrific, they aren’t always 100% effective, so it’s important to inspect your dog’s skin and coat daily, especially throughout the warmer months.
Attached ticks feel hard, smooth and round. If you’re familiar with removing ticks, use a tick remover or tweezers to twist and pluck from the skin. Retain the tick for identification at your local vet. Alternatively, get to the vet immediately for removal. The longer you wait, the worse the changes of paralysis are.
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