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disease Archives - Kalinga Park Veterinary Surgery

Tick Paralysis is here now!!

Spring is here and with it comes an unwanted pest for dogs and cats – the [wiki title=”Ixodes_holocyclus”]Paralysis Tick.[/wiki]
A tick attached

New ticks hatch at this time of the year and are particularly toxic to dogs and cats. Many native animals have developed a resistance to the ticks poison, including their natural host the bandicoot, but unfortunately, most dogs and cats are badly affected if a tick attaches to them.  The paralysis tick injects a poison into the system which progressively paralyses the host animal. Early signs of tick paralysis include vomiting, a change of bark and faster breathing. This quickly progresses to hind and forelimb paralysis and finally death.

Traditionally we have very few ticks in the Kalinga / Wooloowin and Wavell Heights areas but this year seems to be a bit different. There seem to be a lot more ticks around. It is early spring we are finding ticks on dogs on a regular basis and have had several cases of paralysis. Perhaps all the rain we had last summer has created more favourable conditions. Similarly, you don’t have to travel too far from this area for ticks to be seen – notably the Sunshine Coast, a popular weekend and holiday destination.  Every spring and summer we have animals in the hospital with tick paralysis – the result of dogs picking up ticks further afield and bringing them home.

If you are taking your dog into tick areas we recommend the following precautions:

Best Practice for tick prevention

Daily Searching – Ticks are usually found from the shoulders forward in areas including the head, neck, face and forelimbs.

If found:-

  • Remove the tick using a firm pull. Grip the tick at the base of the head using tweezers or tick remover.
  • You can treat the tick with an insecticide (use a flea or tick rinse labelled for your pet) prior to removal if you’re unsure.
  • Do not delay in removal – proceed to the vet to have the tick removed if you cannot do it yourself.
  • Clean the site well using fresh water and possibly some correctly labelled disinfectant.

Bravecto – is the newest preventative control available.  It comes in the form of an oral chew.  Bravecto will last 3mths against Paralysis tick.

Coming Soon!!! Bravecto Spot On – this form of control will last up to 6mths – please contact us to find out more…

Alternative Preventatives

Advantix Spot On for dogs – Advantix needs to be applied fortnightly to prevent ticks

Frontline Top Spot and Spray – will also kill ticks for up to 2 weeks.  Should be applied at least 2 days before entering an infested area.  This is a popular and easy treatment.

Tick Collars – (similar to flea collars, but with a different active ingredient) are increasing in popularity and will kill ticks for up to a 3 month.  Certain tick collars have different requirements and must be used correctly to work.  Please contact us on 3357 1588 to discuss which collars would be most effective and how they need to be used.

Bathing – using an insecticidal rinse that kills ticks is a popular additional treatment.

Wandering Jew and Canine Allergic Dermatitis (Dogs)

Tradescantia sp, commonly known as the Spiderworts, and even more frequently called “Wandering Jew”. Is an extremely common cause of contact allergies in our doggy friends. This plant is extremely common in the Queensland backyard, often accepted as a ground cover plant in some gardens. Here is a range of pictures of various subspecies and their flowers. As you can see the species can have many forms.

Wandering Jew is a common cause of contact allergies in dogs. The problem normally affects the underbelly, armpits and groin of the dog, as well as ears and face. Starting as pustules surrounded by red skin which the dog will self-traumatize – occassionally leading the bleeding and raw skin.

In the past few weeks I have seen at least 6 cases of confirmed allergy to this plant. The best recommendation I can give is to remove the plant from the garden. Failing that prevent their dog accessing the plant.

From the DPI QLD website. http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/dpi/hs.xsl/4790_7385_ENA_HTML.htm

In a recent review of this article I was able to identify another species of plant that may be incorrectly identified as Wandering Jew and is probably more common in south east Queensland.   This plant is not considered a noxious weed however does seem very good at proliferating in sunny areas.

I am still unsure as to whether this species is also allergenic but I suspect it might be. The plant has small hairs on the main stems that could plausibly cause allergic reaction in dogs.

General information

A native of South America, wandering jew ([wiki id=en]Tradescantia fluminernsis[/wiki]), also called Trad, is a fleshy-leaved creeping plant that grows as a ground cover.

A good, non-invasive native alternative to wandering jew is scurvy grass (Commelina diffusa).

Wandering jew is not a declared plant under Queensland legislation, however its control is recommended.

Scientific name Tradescantia fluminernsis
Impacts
  • out-competes native vegetation along streams and gullies
  • smothers ground by sending out roots at each nodal point
Description
  • green shiny leaves with parallel veins covered with small hairs
  • small white three-petalled flowers produced mainly in spring
  • stems and leaves are weak and easily broken
Habitat and distribution
  • establishes as thick carpet-like groundcover in moist, shady areas
  • considered a major environmental weed in subtropical and temperate rainforests
Control
  • hand weeding to remove whole plant including roots and nodes is effective but labour intensive
  • herbicides effective
  • see the wandering jew fact sheet for more information
Declaration details
  • not a declared plant under Queensland legislation but may be declared under local government law

 

Based on this information and the fact that it causes problems for our canine companions I think it should be removed from gardens. To remove it your best bet is a good metal rake. “Rinse and repeat fortnightly as they say” Herbicides are not effective not to mention unhealthy.


Treatment

Treatments depends on the severity of the case. Mild cases may just need a bath to wash away the allergens. Moderate cases may need an injection of cortisone to relieve the allergic reaction. Severe ongoing cases may need more intestive therapy with antibiotics, pain relief and anti- inflammatories.

Call us on 33571588 for more information