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!