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Paralysis Ticks: A Deadly Threat for Dogs & Cats

By Scott Lackenby | Dated September 17, 2014

PET OWNERS BEWARE!! Helen-Photo1-150x150[1]paralysis tickDr Helen Burns, a vet at Gordon Vet Hospital urges pet owners in the local area (Gordon, Pymble, Turramurra, Killara and St Ives) to ensure their dogs and cats are properly protected against paralysis ticks. After a period of rain and the arrival of spring, paralysis ticks are emerging in large numbers. Spring and summer is the ‘typical’ paralysis tick season, where many animals succumb to the illness.

Over the last couple of years however, Dr Burns and the staff at Gordon Vet have treated several cases of tick paralysis throughout winter, making them a year round threat.

“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that tick protection is a year round necessity,” said Helen. “We strongly recommend that pet owners use a product specifically aimed at killing and repelling ticks, so they do not have the chance to attach.”

Paralysis ticks are found in long grass or scrub and their natural hosts are possums, bandicoots and other native fauna. The ticks tend to attach to the head and neck region, but can be found anywhere on the body. They release a toxin during feeding and if left untreated animals can die within a matter of days. Many pets are affected without even leaving their backyard!

Dr Burns recommends treating your dog with a product such as Advantix and/or a tick collar, such as Kiltix or Scalibor. Frontline is best for cats – Advantix should never be used on cats. Most flea treatments will not kill ticks! Examining your pet daily for ticks is also important.

How to check for ticks

The best way to feel for ticks is with the tips of your fingers. An adult tick is often at least 2mm diameter. Start in the common places such as the head and neck, but search everywhere – Around the eyes and ears, under the collar, between the toes etc. Do this every day, even if your pet is on tick prevention.

Signs of Paralysis Tick Toxicity

Leg weakness, especially hind legs

Wobbly gait

Muted barking

Rapid, noisy breathing

Slow, grunting breathing

Coughing, gagging, drooling and vomiting

Less apparent signs include lethargy and loss of appetite.

If your pet has a tick, or shows signs of tick paralysis, please contact us immediately for medical advice and treatment. Once signs of paralysis tick toxicity appear, dogs and cats can become ill very quickly. The earlier the treatment, the better the chance of survival for your pet.

Please call us anytime on 9498 3000 for advice on tick prevention or if you are concerned.

Written by Scott Lackenby

Scott joined the team at Gordon Vets in 1999, where he was immediately impressed with the high standard of customer service. Scott is very popular amongst clients for his kind hearted approach to pet care and his great sense of humour. His particular areas of interest are endocrinology and dermatology.

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Gordon Vet Hospital
4.8
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Jayna Hirani
Jayna Hirani
03:43 09 Apr 20
Quality care and advice at every visit. The staff are friendly and informative and genuinely care about your pets. I am 100% confident that my cat and dog always receive the best pet healthcare and as pet parents that's all we want.
Marianne Broeng
Marianne Broeng
23:23 28 Jan 20
Gordon Vet has looked after my golden retriever since she was 9 weeks. Everyone has been amazing and caring with lots of experience. I have been able to ask any questions and always been welcome. Even one day when she stepped on a bee in the evening, they stayed open until we got there and helped her get it out. Thanks to all the staff :-)
Lizzie Wei
Lizzie Wei
00:56 18 Jan 20
We just moved to Gordon couple month ago and need to get my cat vaccinated. We found this hospital through google and I need to say they provide excellent service and very professional! The doctor really knows cat. Highly recommended!
Lara Bisley
Lara Bisley
08:15 27 Nov 19
Exceptional veterinary hospital. I have been taking my dog here for many years and although I now live in the Eastern Suburbs, I still drive across town to see the Vets at Gordon. The staff are highly skilled, compassionate, friendly and helpful. My 9 year old dog has had 2 knee operations (1 on each knee!) and the outcome of these surgeries far exceeded my expectations. I have been incredibly impressed with the care provided during all of our visits. I would highly recommend Gordon Vet Hospital.
Eugenie Goodyer
Eugenie Goodyer
23:22 21 Oct 19
Very friendly staff. Wonderful care for all our animals A++
Jennie Keogh
Jennie Keogh
06:36 21 Oct 19
Fantastic and friendly staff who you can tell really care about your pet. Their follow up service is also very reassuring. I also board my cat with Gordon Vet and I feel very comfortable to know he's in safe and caring hands. I'm so glad I found this clinic.
Newsha Amiri
Newsha Amiri
20:24 03 Oct 19
We took our dog there and Dr. David take care of his skin issues. he was so caring and professional.
Luxe Sydney Mum
Luxe Sydney Mum
06:37 02 Sep 19
Compassionate, caring and highly skilled veterinary surgeons who treat their patients and owners with respect. The nursing and administration staff are efficient and remember their patients by name which is a lovely touch. A lovely vet practice which despite our Golden Retriever Finn’s complex medical history, is always welcoming to him and he never displays any signs of anxiety when attending. Dr Helen is lovely and a firm favourite of ours!
Lihong Xing
Lihong Xing
05:00 05 Nov 18
Highly recommend Dr David, Scott, Helen, and Catherine, I've taken my cat to see all the doctors here.
Jeremy Tarbox
Jeremy Tarbox
22:55 10 Sep 18
We found a stray, agitated dog in front of our house last night. We phoned but got no help from the Council ranger who gave two options: tie him up in front yard overnight or "let him loose, he'll find his own way home" :( So we phoned Gordon Vet: they stayed open a few minutes so we could run him up and he could have a bed and dinner. Thank you Gordon Vet Hospital, hope he gets home soon!!! :)
Vishal Kapoor
Vishal Kapoor
01:52 04 Sep 18
Really amazing staff members. Their systems and processes are also very
Gerry Stevens
Gerry Stevens
11:01 14 Jul 18
Good competant vet. Did what I needed. Staff friendly. Cat's well.
Arezu A
Arezu A
03:20 15 Feb 18
Absolutely love the service here. I switched from other Vets to this Vet as the staff here are quite attentive and really care about your furry baby! I have basically seen most of the Dr's here and all of them so far have been fantastic, friendly and fun to speak with! Easy to locate and enough parking available! 5 Stars indeed!
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