Paws for thought | Parasite a ticking time bomb for your pet

TICK TOCK: Even if your pet is on a preventative treatment, giving them an additional daily check for ticks is a good habit to get into. Picture: Shutterstock.com
TICK TOCK: Even if your pet is on a preventative treatment, giving them an additional daily check for ticks is a good habit to get into. Picture: Shutterstock.com

With summer fast approaching, and the coast beckoning Border residents for a holiday, it’s time to make sure your pets are protected against paralysis ticks.

These small parasitic members of the arachnid family can be absolutely devastating for dogs and cats, and if left unchecked can result in death.

If you are taking your pet with you to the coast it is important that you seek professional advice about an appropriate prevention prior to your departure. It is also important to note, that ticks can be transported in clothing, vehicles and plants from coastal areas back to your home.

The female tick (Ixodes holocyclus and Ixodes cornuatus) excretes a neurotoxin in her saliva that causes lower motor neuron dysfunction and is injected into your pet when the she has a blood meal. Clinical signs of tick paralysis include; paralysis that begins in the hind limbs and ascends, weakness, dilated pupils, difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing.  

The tick can live on your pet for three to seven days before they have a blood meal and clinical signs are observed. Even if your pet is on tick prevention, it is good to get into the habit of checking them for ticks every time they have been in a tick-inhabited area.

They are usually found on the head, neck and feet.

If you find a tick contact a veterinarian for help on how to remove it.

Once the holiday is completed, be sure to wash any towels, clothes and bedding.

Also be sure to vacuum your car immediately when returning from a coastal holiday.  

Paws for Thought is provided by Petfocus Vetcare, Lavington and appears in The Border Mail every Wednesday.