Fleas are a constant source of irritation to both pets and owners. They also spread tapeworm. Paralysis ticks can kill your pet. They are more commonly around during spring months.
Dogs and cats have the same fleas. The life cycle is governed by temperature and humidity. It is faster in summer and slower in winter. So we get more fleas in summer. The life cycle can be as short as 2 weeks.
Only 5% of a flea's life cycle is spent on your pet.
Fleas suck blood and it is their saliva which causes an allergic reaction in dogs and cats. Female fleas lay their eggs on pets and these fall off and hatch out in your pets environment. Inside or outside depending on where your animals spend their time.
This is why it is important to treat your animal and environment for effective flea control.
Flea allergy dermatitis
Dogs: generally will chew, lick, scratch or bite the hair on their back above tails, down the backs of their thighs and quite often their feet and tummy. The number of fleas is not important to an allergic dog, it only take one flea bite to start a reaction.
Cats: generally have crusty lesions over their whole body and have hair loss through licking.
The Paralysis Tick Ixodes Holocylis is an important parasite of animals. These ticks affect all domestic animals including dogs, cats, sheep, goats, horses and cows.
The tick season in mainly during spring/summer i.e. June to February, but they can occur at any time through the year, particularly after a few days of rain.
The early signs of tick paralysis are:
- trouble breathing
- loss of voice (can’t bark or meow)
- wobbling in hind legs (which becomes worse until the pet can’t walk).
What to do
If you suspect a tick, search the animal thoroughly.
Most ticks are found around the head and neck, but they can be anywhere. PULL IT OFF. Keep your pet cool and rested, don’t give it any food or water, ring the surgery. Quick treatment is important for an early recovery. Don’t wait. Tick paralysis is an emergency.
Prompt treatment is essential - the sooner the animal is treated, the quicker they recover. The success rate is very high, but because of the severity of Tick paralysis the results are variable from animal to animal.
Generally it is necessary to hospitalise animals so they can be monitored regularly. Recovery takes an average of 2 to 4 days but can take longer. The treatment is complex and involves antivenene, drugs to prevent heart and lung failure, stop vomiting and antibiotics to stop pneumonia.