A letter titled ‘No Sign of Ticks’ published in the Wentworth Courier’s Opinion section this week caught our eye. The letter, written by a dog groomer Brett Featon, is probably well intended but unfortunately is misinformed.
Though Mr Featon may not have seen any cases of tick paralysis, we (as described in this recent blog posting) most certainly have. Which makes a certain amount of sense since we are a veterinary practice – the logical choice for dog owners to go to should their dog be showing signs of tick paralysis.
Whilst it is not 100% possible to tell exactly what parks a dog may acquire a tick, there is no doubt that we have treated several dogs for tick paralysis that have not left the Eastern suburbs. The most common parks that the dogs presented are walked in are Cooper and Centennial. We have kept the ticks removed from the dogs in formalin at the practice for inspection should anyone be interested. Happily, all of the dogs have made a full recovery after treatment.
This is a worrying change in the distribution of the problem that has traditionally been isolated to coastal areas to the north and south of the city. It is suspected that a combination of an increase in the number of the local wildlife host population of bandicoots and the high rainfall we have experienced this summer have been contributory factors. Whatever the reason, it is appropriate that pet owners be aware of the risk because the outcome is often fatal if not treated quickly.
That said, pet owners should be reassured that the incidence of this problem is still relatively low. And if some basic precautions are taken they are unlikely to experience a problem.
Our recommendation is that all pets should receive an effective tick preventative and owners perform a daily tick-check from September through April. Concerned pet owners should consult their vet for specific advice about treatment or prevention of paralysis ticks. (The Double Bay Veterinary Clinic recommendation for dogs in the eastern suburbs of Sydney is that they receive a dose of Advantix∗ or Frontline every 2 weeks.)
By following these simple precautions it should be perfectly possible for the dog owners of the Eastern suburbs to continue to enjoy the benefits of the magnificent parklands that Sydney has to offer.