According to the Village Vets, James Carroll and Anthony Bennett, more than one-quarter of dog owners on the eastern seaboard of Australia have had a pet suffer from the paralysis tick – and more than 80% who live in these areas are not treating their dogs properly to protect them from ticks, which can kill paralyse and kill a dog very quickly.
James and Anthony say that, if you live in an area, or travel with your dog to an area where the paralysis tick is prevalent, e.g. almost anywhere on the eastern seaboard from North Queensland to Victoria, it is important that you search your dog daily for ticks.
Here are James' and Anthony's top suggestions to help you guard against ticks in your beloved pooch.
Search by feeling
- It is best to search your dog for ticks when he is relaxed and calm. You search against the grain of the coat to get as close as you can to the skin.
- It is much more likely that you will feel a tick rather than see one, so pay close attention to what you are feeling! The majority of ticks are found in front of the shoulders, but they can be found anywhere.
What a tick feels like
- The most common thing that is felt when finding a tick is a small lump that is hard.
- If you do feel a small lump, it is important to part the coat and then look at the lump.
- There are many different types of tick and they can vary in size. The deadly paralysis tick is usually grey in colour and has four pairs of legs - the front pair and the back pair are brown and the middle two pairs are white. This can be difficult to see with the naked eye so if you have any doubts ask your vet - they are experts at identifying ticks.
- There are many so-called ‘old wives’ tales when it comes to removing ticks. Ticks excrete their toxin in their saliva, so the sooner they are removed the better. It is not necessary to kill a tick before removing it, and it is impossible to squeeze more toxin in!
- It is important to remove all of the tick to ensure no foreign body reaction, which can be done with a pair of tweezers or a special tick hook or twister. Essentially the tick is grasped in a pincer like movement at the base, right near skin level and pulled out.
Symptoms of tick paralysis
- The symptoms of tick paralysis can vary but classically involve muscle weakness, often starting with the hind legs.
- Other symptoms are laboured breathing, coughing, retching, gagging, regurgitation, vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, changes in bark and changes around the eyes.
- If you find a tick or notice any of these symptoms, take your dog straight to a vet. There is a direct correlation between the time from onset of clinical signs and treatment to recovery. The quicker your dog is treated, the quicker she will get better.
Prevention is best
- As always prevention is better than a cure! We recommend NexGard Chewables for Dogs as the most advanced flea and tick prevention.