Ticks and Fleas

Spring has sprung, along with fleas and ticks, and we have a great offer to assist you in protecting your pets this season.
 
Stop fleas and ticks bothering your pet with our 3 P’s …

  • Protect your pet by being vigilant and proactive
  • Prevent the risk of fleas and ticks multiplying by using regular medication
  • Pat your pet daily and use this time to examine for ticks.

The University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney carries a wide range of flea and tick products and can provide advice on the right treatment for your pet.
To help put the spring in your pet’s step, for the month of November we’re offering:
 
20% off the cost of any flea/tick & worming products when purchasing 12 months’ worth of treatment.
 
Call UVTHS and book a flea and tick consultation on 9351 3437 or pop in to purchase your preventative flea & tick medicine. See below for more information on Ticks and Fleas. 

Ticks

There are over 70 tick species residing in Australia. The paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) is of medical importance to both dogs and cats. Adult paralysis ticks are plentiful throughout the spring and summer seasons residing along Australia’s eastern coastline and are becoming more prevalent within Sydney.
If left untreated, paralysis tick envenomation will result in significant illness and even death.

Lifecycle

Eggs are deposited amongst moist leaf litter and hatch within 40 – 60 days. To move to the next stage, the larval tick requires a blood meal. This is achieved by climbing vegetation and opportunistically attaching to a host animal; most commonly bandicoots, but also possums, kangaroos, dogs, cats, cattle, horses or humans.

The tick will blood feed for 4 to 6 days, dropping off the host and moult to the eight legged nymphal stage. The nymphal tick will repeat the quest for a host as described above, blood feeding for 4 to 8 days. The tick will then moult to the adult stage; adult females seeking a host for a bloodmeal (feeding for up to 10 days) and adult males seeking a host for female ticks.

When attaching to the host, the saliva of the paralysis tick produces a toxin that affects the nervous system. Paralysis of the host most often occurs during the period of rapid engorgement by the female paralysis tick. However, paralysis cases have been reported by large numbers of larval and nymphal ticks.

Clinical Signs

Clinical signs of toxicity are variable dependent upon numerous factors of tick and host. Initially, pets may have a voice change and be weaker or quieter than normal. Drooling and regurgitation can also develop in the early stages. As the toxin’s effect continues, the animal may have difficulty walking, appear uncoordinated and develop difficulty breathing. The most severe cases lead to respiratory paralysis and death.

If you suspect tick paralysis toxicity, OR your pet shows any of the above signs, please seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Treatment

Treatment for paralysis tick toxicity includes administration of tick antiserum, hospitalisation with intravenous fluids, intensive nursing care, oxygen support and mechanical ventilation if required. Pets with mild clinical signs have a good prognosis. Those with respiratory difficulties and significant paralysis have a more guarded prognosis.

Prevention, Prevention, Prevention!

Using an effective tick preventative is imperative to decrease the risk of tick paralysis. Please liaise with your local vet as to the most suitable product for your area and pet. During tick season, even with the use of a regular parasiticide, the UVTHS recommends a daily tick search. If you do find a tick attached to your pet, please bring them into see us as soon as possible if you can’t remove it yourself.