• Dr Matt Buchanan-Pascall | Dr. Paws Kotara

TICKED OFF! Ask Dr Paws


Hi Dr Matt,

I am the proud fur dad of a golden retriever Chester! We are new to Newcastle (from South Australia) and were warned recently by friends to watch out for ticks. We have heard a little bit of mixed advice so are wondering what you use or recommend? Thanks!

- David

Hi David and Chester, Welcome to Newcastle! Spot on, ticks are a big problem up here in Newcastle and tick season is officially underway. We have already treated a number of tick-effected pets, and so it’s good timing for a friendly reminder to know the signs to look out for in your pet and most importantly, to get up to date with tick prevention.

A case of the wobblies The most common signs of 'tick paralysis' are wobbliness in the back legs, vomiting, a grunt when they are breathing or often a strange meow in cats. If our pets are not treated at this point, things can progress quickly and become life-threatening or fatal.

If you notice any of these signs or find a tick on your pet, then remove the tick and seek veterinary attention immediately as removing the tick does not cure them of its effects.

Treating tick paralysis Treatment of tick affected pets in the hospital can be intensive, and we do everything we can to get a good outcome for you. Once the ticks are removed, we treat your pet with a tick antiserum given intravenously, use sedatives to reduce stress, perform multiple tick searches, treat any pneumonia that can develop and in severe cases, place them in our oxygen tents to help them breathe.

Prevention is better than cure! Here a few things to do for Chester and for all cat and dog owners out there:

  • Clip all long-haired cats and dogs so you can more easily perform daily tick checks from head to tail, paying close attention to the areas around the head and face.

  • For dogs, I recommend Nexgard monthly (best for growing puppies) or Bravecto every three months (for adults). For cats I use Frontline or Frontera spray every three weeks, making sure to cover them from head to tail.

  • If you ever find a tick, remove it immediately with a pair of tweezers and come straight down to the clinic. If you need any further help or need help with preventative options, call our team on 4047 9910.

All the best, Dr. Matt Buchanan-Pascall (AKA DR PAWS)

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