Cat owners are being urged to protect their pets against tick bites as many have the misconception felines are immune, according to a Yallah vet.
Dr Paul Partland from the Illawarra Animal Hospital said often people associate tick bites and paralysis in dogs but many animals are susceptible.
“Last year I saw ticks on foals, and also I had a pig in hospital we treated in hospital … they can get on all types of mammals,” he said.
“A lot of people start off with cats and believe they will be permanently inside ... but over time they do venture outside and then ticks become a potential problem.
“Also there’s been a lack of good tick prevention [treatments] available in the past.”
Dr Partland said it’s estimated at least 10,000 cats and dogs are presented to Australian veterinarians each year due to tick bites, with many dying as a result.
In hindsight, Vashti O’Rourke said she should have treated the family cat Orangey for the pest just like their pet dogs, after the six-year-old nearly died two weeks ago.
Her son Brock, 14, discovered Orangey lying outside in the rain and unable to move properly and quickly rushed her to the animal hospital.
“He knew it was very odd for a cat to be outside in a rain puddle,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“Never once have I experienced a tick with him, but I’ve had dogs so many with the dogs we’ve had ticks on them. I don’t know why we don’t think it’s just as important with kitty cats.”
TICK BITE SYMPTOMS
- Dogs developing tick paralysis typically show weakness of their back legs and a wobbly walk, which progresses to total paralysis of all four legs. They may also regurgitate food due to weakness of muscles in their throat and oesophagus.
- Cats get agitated and develop a funny breathing pattern with a soft grunt as they breathe out. Weakness is typically less obvious to their owners, at least in early stages.