It’s time to be on tick alert!
Tick season has begun, and the team at the Ark Veterinary Hospital have already treated a number of tick cases. Read on for our tick season checklist.
Use a preventative treatment consistently throughout the year, and especially during tick season. Prevention is the best way to ensure the safety of your pet from tick poisoning, which can be fatal.
For dogs, there are some very effective and easy-to-use products on the market. Drop into the clinic and ask our nursing team about Nexgard and Bravecto especially. For our feline companions, the preventative options are limited to a fortnightly Frontline Spray or spot-on treatment. Some of our feline patients visit us every fortnight for their Frontline spray! They may not enjoy their visits too much, but it means that they are given the best chance of preventing tick paralysis.
New preventative products can be introduced during tick season, so our staff are always learning and keeping up to date. Have a chat with some of our staff, and we can give you some advice on the right preventatives for your household.
The best way to examine your pet is using the finger crawl technique; moving your fingers across the animal in a line. Search the entire animal for ticks by feel, and not solely with your eyes. Do not forget to check between the toes, in the ears, in the lips and on the face and neck of the dog. If you find one tick be sure to continue searching the rest of the body as there is a possibility that your pet is host to more than one.
If you find a tick, remove it immediately! Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible with tweezers, and removing it quickly. Do not squeeze the body of the tick. A special tool called a tick twister is particularly useful for removing the tick in a safe way. These are available at The Ark Vet, and are our weapon of choice when removing ticks.
If you are having any difficulty removing a tick, please do not hesitate to come into The Ark Vet, where one of our qualified nurses will remove the tick off your animal.
Know the signs
Loss of appetite, vomiting or dry retching, excessive salivation, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, or an increase in breathing rate, change in bark or meow and coughing are all preliminary signs. Your pet may display one or all of these signs.
Secondary symptoms include limb weakness, starting in the hind legs, progressing to the front legs. Your pet will appear wobbly and uncoordinated, or falling over. If untreated, this develops into paralysis. Further symptoms may include incontinence, and laboured breathing.
Even after you have removed a tick, the toxins may still take up to 3 days to affect your pet. If you have removed a tick, keep a close eye on your dog or cat for the following days to ensure they do not develop any of the signs listed above.
If you think your pet has been affected by a tick, keep it as cool and unstressed as possible e.g. on a cold floor or in an air conditioned room. DO NOT offer your pet anything to eat or drink.
Contact your vet as soon as possible to assess your pet and treat as required. If you have removed a tick from your pet, please bring it with you so we can assess how long it may have been on your pet.
Remember to call us if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health. Be sure to check out our Tick FAQ if you want more information on tick prevention.