Paralysis ticks are parasites that can make cats and dogs very sick. They are most often seen around Australia’s east coast during the warmer months of spring and summer. However, that does not mean they are not active at other times of the year. The ticks live on bandicoots and possums, which are natural hosts for the tick.
Deadly and Dangerous
Ticks attach themselves to pets as they walk through bushlands and grass. Some pets can pick up the parasites without even leaving their own backyard. Unfortunately, paralysis ticks evolve through a long life cycle. According to the experienced Ku Ring Gai vet staff from Gordon Vet, the cycle consists of eggs, larvae, nymphs, and then the ticks themselves. When they reach the stage of an adult, the parasites become deadly and dangerous.
Why Ticks Attach Themselves to Pets
Adult paralysis ticks have an oval or pear-shaped body, and are typically grey. When they attach themselves to a cat’s or dog’s skin, they do so to feed on the blood. Whilst it is feeding, the tick secretes a poison or toxin from its mouthparts, which, in turn, affects an animal’s nervous system. When the ticks first attach themselves, they are a small size. However, as they start feeding, they become larger. They may range from a couple millimetres to a full centimetre in width as they continue to feed.
Paralysis tick treatment for dogs by Gordon Vet is recommended if a dog is exhibiting any of the following tick-related symptoms:
- An unstable gait, especially in the hind legs
- Muffled barking
- Noisy and rapid breathing or slowed and laboured breathing
- Gagging or coughing
- Vomiting or drooling
Less apparent signs may include a loss of appetite or fatigue.
The Larval Stage
The larval stage of the ticks begins when the eggs of an adult paralysis tick are deposited in the scrub or grass. When the eggs hatch, the larvae jump on animals in the brush. If a pet happens to be in the vicinity, larval or grass ticks will all leap on the animal at once. In turn, your dog or cat will suffer from itching and irritation. Whilst the larval forms of the tick will not cause paralysis, they still can make a dog or cat feel quite miserable.
Contact Your Vet without Delay
Once the symptoms of tick poisoning appear, a pet can become ill quite rapidly. That is why seeing a vet is imperative if your dog or cat is showing any of the symptoms listed above. The earlier that you call your vet, the better the chance that your pet will survive. If you do not contact your vet and seek immediate treatment, your pet will die. An antiserum is administered that prevents further poisoning. Other treatments and hospitalisation are also normally required.
Perform Your Own Inspection
Therefore, make sure you regularly inspect your pet’s skin and coat for paralysis ticks. You should do this even if you give your dog or cat a tick control type product. To begin, search your pet’s head, neck, ears, and face. Most ticks attach themselves to these spots. Examine the rest of the body, using all your fingers to check for bumps or irregularities.