Poor Copernicus had to be sprayed with an anti-tick spray this morning. He was sick while we were in Nowra over Easter. Sick enough that we had to put in an after hours call to the vet. When we got him to the vet he had a temperature - almost 41 degrees. The vet thought it was some sort of non-specific infection because all the bloodwork and urine tests came back normal. Interestingly the vet took a urine sample from Perni by sucking urine straight from his bladder with a syringe. We hadn't seen that before. When we got back home on Monday night though we found dozens of tiny nymph sized ticks - or lumps where they were. So yesterday we went to the Surry Hills Vet to see what he could do. The vet couldn't find any live ticks and he thought most of the lumps were scabs from the deceased ticks. It seems the Frontline drops we'd applied before going to Nowra had done the job and killed most of the ticks. The vet gave us another tick treatment that was to be sprayed on. Overkill he thought but at least it would get rid of any ticks that were still on Copernicus. Ticks are nasty little fuckers. A single bush tick left untreated or not removed will keep pumping toxins into the cat until the cat, or dog for that matter, dies. The vet doesn't think the current infestation is bush ticks but they still make poor Perni sick.
Try spraying a cat sometime. We're lucky with Copernicus because he will placidly take almost anything we throw at him. But even he was squirming around like... a cat being sprayed with chemicals. He complained a bit too but he doesn't scratch, bite or hiss. It still took both of us to do it though. One to hold and the other to squirt.
Now he is on the balcony terrorising grasshoppers.
Update and clarification 21 April 2009 : Bush ticks are what Perni had all over him. Bush ticks are nasty fuckers but they aren't the truly evil paralysis ticks. Only one of those will indeed kill a cat or a dog. A vet told me that there may even be a recorded case of one killing a person too. Copernicus was sick for the next few days. We took him back to the vet where he had a shot for nausea and some antibiotics but the only other thing we could do was remove any ticks we found. Vets are reluctant to use the tick antivenin on cats because the cat's chances are only pretty much only 50-50 with the antivenin. Anyway the Frontera spray seems to have done the trick and killed practically all the ticks on Perni. He was back to his old self after a day or two - he'd barely eaten for almost a week. He'd go and sniff his food and then walk away but now he is back to his greedy old self. We missed him.