The main tick of concern for pet owners is the Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus) as it can cause paralysis and death within 2-4 days of attachment. Unfortunately Cairns is considered a paralysis tick hotspot and research has demonstrated we have the most toxic tick sub-species in Australia. The main tick season occurs between July and January but we do treat the occasional tick case at all other times of the year.
If you notice a tick on a pet that is not displaying signs of tick paralysis, remove the tick straight away. To do this, grasp the tick firmly where it attaches to your pet’s skin and give a quick sideways pull. If you are not confident removing the tick please call us immediately to make an appointment to have it removed. Once the tick is removed your pet should be kept quiet whilst being closely monitored for 24 hours. If your pet starts to display any signs of tick paralysis, such as vomiting, weakness, staggering, breathing difficulty, or altered bark, seek immediate veterinary attention as this is a genuine veterinary emergency. If your pet is showing any of the above signs, do not offer food or water as these may be accidentally inhaled in tick-affected dogs.
Treatment of tick paralysis includes searching for and removing all ticks. This may include clipping the animal completely and/or the use of medication to kill remaining ticks. Tick antiserum is administered to counteract the toxin and supportive care is provided during recovery. This can be costly in comparison to what it would cost to use tick prevention initially. However, no tick prevention is 100% effective and should always be used in combination with daily searches of your pet. Use your fingers to feel over the entire body, especially under the collar, on the face and around the front of your pet. Don’t forget to check carefully between the toes, under the lips and in the ears.
Tick preventatives we recommend are Advantix spot ons (dogs only), Preventic, Scalibor and Killtix flea collars (dogs only). Frontline spray (Dogs and cats).
We are more than happy to show you how to do a thorough tick search, please call us to discuss any of your tick queries.