Veterinarians have issued a warning about tick paralysis, saying the season is well and truly underway and the harmful parasites have already claimed the lives of many beloved pets
Media veterinarian, Dr Katrina Warren, is appealing to all dog and cat owners to proactively talk to a local vet about flea and paralysis ticks, the incidence levels in their region, and suitable treatments.
“It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed by the many parasites dogs and cats need to be protected from, and their associated treatments. But living in Australia means it is absolutely essential pets are adequately protected against paralysis ticks and fleas,” says Dr Warren.
“It’s not exaggerating to say that action now - before the season starts - can make a big difference to your pet’s health. In terms of paralysis ticks, it could be the difference between life and death.”
Dr Justin Wimpole, Senior Registrar in Small Animal Medicine at SASH (Small Animal Specialist Hospital, Sydney) sees the grim reality of pet owners not protecting their dogs and cats from fleas and paralysis ticks too frequently.
“At SASH I commonly see the devastating effects of tick paralysis on dogs and cats. This serious but preventable condition can cause severe illness and even death.”
“Although most pets recover with good treatment, this can be very involved and prevention is absolutely better than cure.”
“Prevention involves regularly and carefully searching your pet for ticks and using effective preventative treatments.”
As Term 3 school holidays are imminent, Dr Katrina is also reminding pet owners who take their four-legged friends on holiday to research the new environment and ensure the necessary treatments are administered before and during time away from home.
“When you pack to go away, please plan ahead for your pets. Take the time to ask the local vet at your holiday destination if paralysis ticks are a problem, and whether you need to be mindful of fleas.
Simple steps, such as organising preventative treatments before you go, can ensure a holiday is fun and relaxing – for you and your dog or cat.”
Australia’s paralysis tick season runs from about August to March – the time when adult female ticks are most abundant but can vary region to region.
Unique to Australia’s eastern seaboard, the paralysis tick - Ixodes holocyclus - causes a huge problem to tackle locally every year.
Although summer is the prime season for fleas, many homes and pets have problems year round, so it’s important that pets are protected with preventive treatments regularly through the year.