This is Paris, a 3 year old Fox Terrier. Her owner recently took her on a trip to the bush. A few days later, he noticed that Paris was showing some unusual symptoms, she was wobbly on her feet. Her owner had recently lost a dog to paralysis tick and was worried that the same could happen to Paris. He rushed her in to see us to find out what was the matter with her.
In Australia many animals die every year from tick paralysis. Symptoms begin with ataxia, or unsteadiness on the feet. The animal then gradually loses other neurological functions and can become fully paralysed, leading to respiratory paralysis and death. Removal of the embedded tick and supportive treatment will often lead to a full recovery.
Dr Tanya performed a tick search on Paris. This involves thoroughly touching and examining every inch of the patient's body looking for the embedded tick. Special attention is paid to nooks and crevasses such as near joints, between toes and even inside the patient's mouth. Ticks are usually found on the head and front end of the dog, however, Dr Tanya found Paris's tick on her back end, under her tail. This highlights the need to check every inch of the patient.
Paris's owner decided to take her home that night and care for her himself. The next morning, he brought her in for another check. Dr Raj examined her and found that her gag reflex had returned and she was recovering well. She is expected to make a full recovery.
Ticks are rare in inner urban areas and suburbs but can be common in bushland and farmland areas. If you and your pet visit such areas you should be aware of the risks and apply a preventative treatment such as Advantix. If you find anything on your pet which you think may be a tick, you should seek veterinary attention.