Tick paralysis in dogs

Tick paralysis in dogs

What is tick paralysis?

Tick paralysis is a disease caused by a neurotoxin that can be present in the saliva of certain female ticks. In North America, dogs that catch tick paralysis have normally been infected by a Dermacentor tick. In Australia, Ixodes ticks are the common carriers.

Symptoms of tick paralysis in dogs

The first symptoms displayed by a dog with tick paralysis are often lost control of the throat and voice box. Regurgitation and vomiting are also common early signs of tick paralysis in dogs. As the disease progresses, the hind legs of the dog will become weak or paralysed. The weakness/paralysis will then spread along the spine towards the head. Eventually, complete paralysis can set in. At this late stage, dogs will often experience respiratory problems.

Tick paralysis prevention for dogs

If you live in an area where infected ticks can be found, you should examine your dog for ticks at least once a day. The sooner you remove the tick, the less the risk of it transmitting the disease to your dog. The general rule of thumb states that a tick needs to be attached to the dog for at least 48 hours to cause tick paralysis, and daily tick checks is therefore an excellent way of protecting your dog from tick paralysis.

In addition to regular tick-removal, there is a wide range of commercial products available to aid dog owners in their struggle against tick paralysis and other tick borne diseases. If you feel confused about the multitude of products, do not hesitate to seek the opinion of a veterinarian.

One example of an anti-tick product available for dogs is the anti tick collar. You can have your pick among a wide range of producers, e.g. Virbac who makes the Preventic 2 Month Tick Collar for dogs or Bayer that makes the Kitix Tick and Flea Collar for Dogs.

If your dog is visiting a tick infested area, you might want to rinse it off every 2-3 day with an anti-tick rinse such as  Fido’s Fre-Itch Rinse. Permoxin Insecticidal Spray and Rinse is another alternative and should be administered every 7 days. Permoxin Insecticidal Spray and Rinse is effective against ticks, fleas and mosquitoes. Just as with the collars, there are many different manufacturers to choose among and you can save quite a lot of money by comparing their prices before your make a purchase.

If you and your dog live in an area where ticks are common, a spray or spot-on-the-back-of-the-neck product is probably a more practical solution than having to rinse your dog one or several times per week. (Keep in mind that too frequent baths with shampoo and/or anti-tick rinses can make the skin and coat of your dog very dry and irritated.) Advantix is one example of the new spot-on-the-back-of-the-neck products that can be used both for repelling ticks and killing any ticks that are already attached to your dog. Advantix should be applied twice a month and is effective against ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, lice and sandflies. Another spot-product is Frontline Plus Top Spot, which should also be applied twice a month. Frontline also manufactures a spray that can be used every three weeks to protect your dog from ticks. Use six millilitres for each kilogram of body weight when spraying. Frontline spray will also kill ticks attached to your dog.

Another alternative in the combat against ticks is oral insecticides such as Proban. Proban will be excreted through the skin of your dog, thereby efficiently protecting the entire body from ticks. Dog owners using sprays or rinses on their dog can easily miss spots, and ticks can seek out these areas. A downside to Proban is that your have to administer it to your dog every second day.

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Tick paralysis in dogs
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