A family holiday can be great fun when your pets are invited too, but careful preparation is important to ensure the whole family has a safe and healthy time.
As Australia’s paralysis tick season is now underway, I urge pet owners to be tick aware these school holidays.
The paralysis tick is unique to Australia’s eastern seaboard and is the single most dangerous parasite for dogs on the eastern coast of Australia, with just one tick capable of causing paralysis and even death.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when travelling with their dog is not researching whether paralysis ticks are in the area they are going to. If you are travelling with your dog these holidays, I recommend you phone the local vet at your holiday destination and ask if paralysis ticks are prevalent in the area.
The paralysis tick causes symptoms in a variety of forms, but typically starts with weakness of the hindquarters, progressing to total paralysis of all four legs. Other early symptoms include the appearance that the dog has something stuck in its throat, vomiting or heavy, loud breathing.
Dogs should be inspected daily for ticks and, if a tick is found, it needs to be removed immediately with tweezers or a tick-removing device. After removal of the tick, if owners are unsure as to whether their dog is showing any symptoms of tick paralysis, they should contact their local vet immediately.
I have seen first-hand how holidays can go from happy to hellish when a beloved furry family member gets sick from a tick. The emotional stress is enormous and financially, it can be crippling. Due to the devastating effects of paralysis tick on dogs, treatment is not always successful.
I recommend you start long-lasting preventative treatment at least two weeks prior to departing for your holiday. Think about the activities your pet may be involved in while you are away, such as swimming, as that will help you work out the best treatment option with help from your vet. You should also make sure that you check your pet for ticks thoroughly every day while you are away.
Preparation is the key when it comes to paralysis ticks to ensure all members of your family – two legged and four legged- have a very safe and happy holiday period.
Dr Katrina is Brand Ambassador for Bravecto, the first and only oral chew to deliver extended protection for four months against paralysis ticks and three months against fleas – all in a single chew.