Vets urg­ing tick checks for pets

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

PET own­ers are be­ing urged to check their pets for ticks af­ter a lead­ing vet­eri­nar­ian clinic warned of the deadly par­a­site ar­riv­ing ear­lier than usual.

The ur­gent warn­ing for pet own­ers is due to the tick sea­son ar­riv­ing early be­cause of the re­cent rain­fall, with an alarm­ing num­ber of cases al­ready be­ing re­ported.

Peak sea­son is tra­di­tion­ally from Septem­ber un­til Fe­bru­ary, with the worst months be­ing be­tween Oc­to­ber and De­cem­ber, though the con­stant rain has brought out the ticks in large num­bers.

Moss­man vet De­bra Verri said all pet own­ers, es­pe­cially those in high-risk ar­eas, must check their an­i­mals daily and be aware pets can be struck by ticks at any time of the year.

Dr Verri said the deadly par­a­site that is most com­mon in at­tack­ing pets is the paral­y­sis tick.

“Most com­monly

it causes paral­y­sis of the hind legs but it can also cause paral­y­sis of the breath­ing mus­cles and the swal­low­ing re­flex,” Dr Verri said.

“Peo­ple of­ten recog­nise these last two symp­toms by their pets’ in­abil­ity to bark or gag­ging and retch­ing as if a bone is stuck in their pets’ throat.

“It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that dogs and cats do not die from be­ing un­able to walk but do die from be­ing un­able to swal­low and chok­ing on any­thing from their own saliva, food, wa­ter, vomit and not be­ing able to breathe.”

Ticks are com­monly found in bushy, grassy ar­eas and shrubs and can be po­ten­tially fatal for an­i­mals if left un­treated and are also known to cause se­ri­ous prob­lems in hu­mans rang­ing from al­ler­gic re­ac­tions, paralysing tox­i­c­ity and the trans­mis­sion of in­fec­tious dis­eases.

“Check­ing for paral­y­sis ticks in­volves walk­ing your fin­gers through your pet’s coat and check­ing all lumps and bumps - and never dis­miss a lump be­cause it ’ was there yes­ter­day’,” Dr Verri said.

“I would urge all pet own­ers to use some form of tick preven­tion but it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that no treat­ment is 100 per cent and no mat­ter what pre­ven­ta­tive you choose to use, you should also be check­ing your pet daily.

“Early de­tec­tion will make a big dif­fer­ence to the sever­ity of the in­jury caused to pets by ticks, and if a tick is found, pet own­ers should seek ve­teri­nary at­ten­tion im­me­di­ately to re­duce the chance of the tick poi­son­ing be­ing lethal.”

Photo by PAUL BUT­LER

Mak­ing sure: trainee vet­eri­nar­ian nurse Ju­lia Fuller tests Titch for deadly ticks

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