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Spring has sprung and with it we start anew… Fresh faces, frequent newsletters, and as always, a focus on our furry friends.

Make Sure You ‘Tick’ The Right Box

Tick paralysis – it is one of the top causes of EASILY PREVENTABLE

deaths in our pets, especially over the next two seasons. Five hundred deaths(!)

annually amongst our canine population, with approximately 10,000(!) 

cases seen each year.  That is just appalling, given how easy it is to prevent it.

It makes us very sad just thinkingof all the completely avoidable pain and suffering

those animals went through prior to their deaths.  


We want to make sure your pet doesn’t add to that number.

Speaking of numbers, treatment costs for tick paralysis ranges between

$1,000-$10,000. Yes, we double-checked those zeros, those numbers

are correct! So, please, take the time to read this and get your pets on the best

preventatives out there. 

Ticks are present year-round but their breeding season is in Spring-Summer

- so we see a rise in paralysis cases as they seek a blood meal from a mammalian

host during this time. They normally reside on our native species such

as possums, bandicoots etc., these marsupials have thankfully evolved

defenses against the tick toxin. This further highlights the need to put

your on pet on a preventative, as even those pets that are restricted

to just their backyards or are indoors mostly and only go out for short

toilet breaks are still at risk. All it takes is one wandering possum

or bandicoot, dropping ticks on its travels through your backyard. 

When feeding, the ticks release a neurotoxin into the bloodstream, a toxin that

affects the functioning of nerves resulting in muscle paralysis.

The clinical signs associated with the toxin are varied and change as the disease progresses.

The first signs owners notice is that their pet was “quieter than usual”, or lethargic, and often only retrospectively.

The next signs are commonly a change in tone of the bark or meow, followed by difficulty swallowing food and/or regurgitating their food right after eating. This occurs because the muscles in the throat get paralysed. 

As more toxin is released, more generalized muscle weakness occurs and animals often present to us as ‘weak in the back legs’ or ‘wobbly’.  As the disease progresses, animals struggle to breathe as the muscles that inflate the lungs fail. This is when things get really serious and animals require ICU care. The trouble with the  breathing often upsets the animal, especially cats, so much so that they get very agitated making everything worse. These cases will require sedation to keep them calm and may even require to be placed on life support (i.e. using a machine to breathe for them).  Even with the most intensive care and the best of medical treatments

some animals do not survive.   

Be sure to check the right boxes this tick season – get some monthly Nexgard or three-monthly Bravecto on

board for flea and tick prevention for your dogs and Frontline spray for your cats.

It will cost you just over $20 a month to treat your pets. Please be tick-wise and vigilant!




Spring Pet Health Tips - Algester Vet
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