Top Tips to Protect Your Dog from Ticks

Protect your dog from the deadly paralysis tick with expert advice from celebrity vets, James Carroll and Anthony Bennett of the popular show Village Vets Australia.

Celebrity vets, James Carroll and Anthony Bennett from the popular show Village Vets Australia, are passionate about good pet care. Here they share great advice on how to prevent your dog from the deadly paralysis tick.

The deadly paralysis tick

We can't stress how important it is to check your dog for ticks. Jessica Tiller's puppy Wally, a Mini Schnauzer, was just 6 months old when he died in Oct 2014. Jessica had checked for ticks, she had found some before, but managed to get rid of them in time. When walking Wally on the beach one day, Jess noticed he was tired but thought it was just the heat. Later she found a paralysis tick in his beard and removed it, but towards the end of the day, Wally's legs gave way and he was rushed to the emergency room.

A second tick was then found in his ear. Wally was at the vets for almost a week and the last few days he was on a ventilator - he couldn't breathe without it as he was completely paralysed. Jess eventually had to make the decision to let Wally go as there were no signs of improvement and it was costing thousands (approximately 7k) for his treatment. Now the family has a new Mini Schnauzer puppy called Alfie, currently 14 weeks old and are using NexGard Chewables.

Top Tips

1. Checking for ticks

If you live in an area, or travel with your dog to an area where the paralysis tick is prevalent, e.g. the eastern seaboard, it is important that you search your dog daily. It is best to do while your dog is relaxed and calm and to search against the grain of the coat to get as close as you can to the skin. It is much more likely that you will feel a tick rather than see one, so pay close attention to what you are feeling! The majority of ticks are found in front of the shoulders however they can be found anywhere.

2. What you'll find

The most common thing that is felt when finding a tick is a small lump that is hard. If felt it is important to part the coat and visualise the lump. There are many different types of tick and they can vary in size. The deadly paralysis tick is usually grey in colour and has four pairs of legs - the front pair and the back pair are brown and the middle two pairs are white. This can be difficult to see with the naked eye so if you have any doubts ask your vet - they are experts at identifying ticks.

3. Removal

There are many old wives tales when it comes to removing ticks. Ticks excrete their toxin in their saliva, so the sooner they are removed the better. It is not necessary to kill a tick before removing it, and it is impossible to squeeze more toxin in! It is important to remove all of the tick to ensure no foreign body reaction, which can be done with a pair of tweezers or a special tick hook or twister. Essentially the tick is grasped in a pincer like movement at the base, right near skin level and pulled out.

4. What to look out for

The symptoms of tick paralysis can vary but classically involve muscle weakness, often starting with the hind legs. Other symptoms are laboured breathing, coughing, retching, gagging, regurgitation, vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, changes in vocalisation and changes around the eyes. If you find a large tick or the above symptoms are evident then it is important to take your dog straight to a vet. There is a direct correlation between the time from onset of clinical signs and treatment to recovery. The quicker your dog is treated, the quicker it will get better

5. Prevention

As always prevention is better than a cure! NexGard Chewables for dogs are the most advanced flea and tick prevention that we have in the market. It is important that the products are used in accordance with the instructions.

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