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TICK-ing Time Bomb
With tick season now affecting many parts of Australia, Pet Insurance Australia is reminding all Australians to be extra vigilant, which means that it’s time to start your daily skin checks and routine tick prevention.
“In 2015 we witnessed the highest rate of tick bites, infestation and paralysis claims on record,” says Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. “This signifies the importance of being prepared and correctly informed when it comes to protecting our pets against tick associated problems.”
According to PIA research, NSW seems to be hit the hardest. “There was a substantial increase in the amount of tick related claims from 2014 to 2015. However, NSW does seem to represent a large majority of those claims with Queensland coming in at second,” reveals Crighton.
Paralysis tick is the most notorious of all the tick species facing Australian pet owners, and around this time of year these blood-sucking critters are prevalent in many coastal areas. “As the weather warms and Spring takes hold, it is important that owners get into the habit of checking their pets daily for ticks and removing them correctly. Plus, seriously considering tick prevention medication.”
After attaching to your pet, the tick will release a toxin through their saliva that can directly affect the nervous system. “If you suspect that your pet is suffering from tick paralysis urgent veterinary treatment is paramount.”
Symptoms to Look Out for:
- Voice disorder or change in bark
- Unusual behaviour
- Unusual breathing
- Loss of movement in the hind quarters
- Partial loss of muscle movements
- Difficulty in eating
- Excessive drooling
Treatment requires the removal of the tick and applying a commercial tick antiserum. Some animals may require assistance with their breathing during this process.
“There is no doubt about the agony that tick paralysis can cause a beloved family pet,” states Crighton. “It’s also an unimaginably helpless situation many Australian pet owners are faced with during tick season.”
The best form of defence is monitoring and prevention. “Check your pets daily and remove any visible ticks,” Crighton recommends. “There are also tick prevention medication now available. If you live in a known tick area, or you are considering visiting a tick area, please speak to your vet about the best treatment plan for your pet.”
It is estimated that around 10,000 companion animals are affected by tick paralysis each year. Prevention saves lives!
With the number of claims being the highest in NSW and Queensland, most pet owners are now aware of the possibility of ticks in their pet’s environment.
“These numbers seem to grow each year,” Crighton says. “Since 2013 NSW and Queensland have seen a 50% increase in claims.”
Tick paralysis takes the lives of many innocent pets each year. Treatment can also be invasive and very costly. “Knowing the warning signs and being prepared can help save the life of your pet.”