In Australia, the worst time for the appearance of tick paralysis is from August through February. However, that does not mean your dog cannot experience the problem at other times during the year. Because of global warming and alternating weather patterns as well as an increase in bandicoots and possums, the tick population is on the increase. In addition, ticks are found in compost areas and in spaces that feature overgrown shrubbery. Grassy, shady areas can also be a haven for ticks.
The Stages of a Tick’s Life
After it hatches, a larval tick climbs on a plant and waits for an animal, such as a bandicoot or dog, to enter the area. The tick then burrows its mouthparts into the skin of the animal, injecting a neurotoxin substance during the feeding. Once the tick is through, it drops off the animal and transforms into a nymph tick.
The same process is repeated on another animal. After this phase, the tick becomes an adult paralysis tick. Once the female tick has filled up on blood, she drops off the host animal and lays her eggs (up to 3,000 at a time), which keeps the cycle ongoing.
Symptoms of Tick Paralysis
Fortunately, the experienced Ku Ring Gai vet staff from Gordon Vet are always on hand to treat the problem of paralysis ticks and offer emergency services. Paralysis tick treatment for dogs by Gordon Vet, for instance, is facilitated if a dog exhibits the following symptoms:
- a refusal to eat, vomiting, or regurgitation of food,
- a change in its bark,
- weakness of the back legs,
- lack of coordination or trouble climbing stairs (this may result in collapse or paralysis), and
- respiration problems in the form of coughing, panting, or slow and laboured breathing.
While the above symptoms are usually identified as being related to tick paralysis, the animal can also develop other symptoms that are not normally associated with the condition.
Removing a Tick
It is important that you have your dog or cat treated immediately as progression of the tick poisoning through the system can result in a fatality. If you see a tick on your pet, you can remove the pest with tweezers by grasping it as close as possible to the skin. If the mouthparts of the tick break off, then it cannot produce any more of its toxic serum.
The site may become infected. Therefore, it is best to remove the mouthparts if you can and treat the site with an antiseptic. After a tick removal, closely monitor your pet and do not exercise him. He should only be given very small amounts of water and food. Tick paralysis can take several days to appear after the removal of a tick.