Pet Owners Beware…Paralysis Ticks are Even Earlier this Year

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Look out, deadly Paralysis Ticks are active earlier than usual…and your pet could be their next victim.

(scroll down for video story)

Austin, a cheeky three year old chocolate poodle nearly became the latest Paralysis Tick statistic over the weekend, because without his doting mum’s knowledge, he’d picked up a deadly hitch-hiker on a recent holiday to the south coast.

“I just didn’t think about it” said former Vet Nurse Natalie Coop, who’s horrified by her pet’s brush with death. “In my day, Paralysis Ticks were only a problem over the summer months which was when you put Tick preventatives on your dogs and cats.”

Not anymore.

“We’ve been advising pet owners to use Tick preventatives year-round, especially the newer longer-lasting ones, for some time. But already this winter we’re seeing even more dogs and cats poisoned by Paralysis Ticks than we’ve ever seen at this time of year than ever before.” says Troy James, Manager of the Animal Referral Hospital and Emergency Centre.

Mr James added, “Fortunately in this case, both the owner and her local Castle Hill Greencross Vet acted swiftly, knowing that when it comes to Paralysis Ticks, pets will almost always need to be hospitalised, even after being given anti-venene but also to provide additional breathing and life support.”

Where did it happen? Natalie explained that it’s probably close to 20 years since she was a vet nurse, nowadays she fosters kids (and cats) so it was a very rare opportunity for a break which took the family to Kiola just north of Batemans Bay.

The energetic miniature poodle had a blast running on the beach and through the neighbouring bushland and remained in perfect health…until 6 days after the holiday – Saturday morning – when he fell down the stairs.

“He couldn’t walk – he had the classic symptoms of Paralysis Tick poisoning – and I knew we had to act fast”, said Natalie.

She found a hugely bloated Tick on Austin’s head and asked her husband to grab some tweezers so they could get it off before going to the Vet for treatment. But before they could do anything, the hugely engorged Tick fell off, ready to lay eggs to continue the deadly parasite cycle.

“Natalie’s former training really helped,” says Mr James, “Many people would wrongly assume if the Tick was off, then their pet was out of danger…but Natalie knew Austin would need not only Anti-Tick venene from her own Vet but he’d also need 24 hour monitoring for a day or two to ensure the residual poison didn’t stop Austin’s breathing or major organs.”

Sunday night and so far so good… and it’s likely Austin will be able to go home Monday morning – but he’ll still have to take it easy, plus Natalie will have to take extra care because of Austin’s compromised system. Should another Paralysis Tick latch on, the impact of the poison will be twice as fast.

“The good news is that this year pet owners have the choice of either a longer-lasting anti-tick collar (Nexgard) or a quarterly chew (Bravecto) which kills both fleas and Paralysis Ticks”, said Mr James.

“Sounds strange – but we’d really rather not have to see you in our Emergency Department if it can be avoided – but accidents happen so we’re here 24/7 should you need us.” He said.



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