Ticks

Tick control is one of the most important things you can do for your dogs’ health. In certain parts of Australia, ticks are a major cause of dog death every year, particularly during the summer months.  Make a tick prevention regime part of your dogs life.

What Are They?
Ticks are arachnids related to spiders. They have 8 legs and a large abdomen. They feed by burrowing their head into the skin of an animal. All that can be seen is a rounded abdomen sticking out of the body which will swell with blood as the tick feeds on the host animal. Unfed they can be as small as 3mm and when fed, up to 1.5cm.

Tick season is generally September to March, but they can be found at any time of year. If a tick attaches to your pet, the poison found in their salivary glands is extremely toxic. Be particularly vigilant during the warmer months.

Signs to Look Out For
Tick poisoning causes ‘ascending paralysis’ or a gradual loss of ability to use their muscles, starting from the bottom of the dog and moving upwards. This is why the most often seen sign is a loss of ability to use the back legs or walk up stairs. Look out for:

·       A change in their voice – the bark becomes softer or higher pitched.

·       Weakness in the backlegs – sitting down suddenly is a common early sign.

·       Vomiting – particularly if it is frothy.

As the symptoms worsen, you may see:

·       Wobbliness in the hips and back legs, and eventually an inability to stand.

·       Excessive drooling and vomiting.

·       Panting and loud, strenuous breathing.

·       A moist sounding cough.

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, then it is very important to take them to your vet as soon as possible. The earlier that tick poisoning is treated, the better the outcome is likely to be. On the way to the vet, try to keep your pet still, quiet and cool. Do not give them anything to eat or drink.

Every Day
Search your pet from top to bottom. Feel against the fur, starting at the head, and move backwards until you reach the tip of the tail. Make sure you check around the ears, eyes and mouth, and between the pads and even up their nose. Common places that ticks can be missed are under collar or chin, along the gum line and around the bottom area. If you find a tick, call your local vet right away.

Product Options
1.     Washes: These are a relatively inexpensive option, but need applying as regularly as every few days, and will wash off in water.

2.     Sprays. Last up to 3 weeks and are waterproof. However, it can be difficult to apply to wriggling dogs, as it requires them to be sprayed thoroughly all over.

3.     Spot On Treatments: Applied to the back of the neck, they will protect against ticks for two weeks. The dog needs to be kept dry two days before and two days after application, to allow the product to disburse through the sebaceous glands. Daily swimming will gradually reduce their effectiveness, as will UV light and sand moving through the coat.

4.     Tick Collars: Lasting from 1 to 3 months dependent on brand, these are effective but some can leave a residual smell. They are powder coated and the powder is removed by water. This means the dog cannot swim or be out in the rain, for the collar to remain effective. Shouldn’t be used on dogs that will chew at the collar.

5.      Chewable, combined flea and tick control, administered orally and effective for a whole month. Not affected by swimming or bathing. Palatable tablet which reaches full efficiency after only eight hours.

Keeping up to date with your chosen product greatly reduces the risk of tick poisoning, however you should still check your pet every day.

Please speak to one of our store team members as to which product might be most suitable for you and your dog.