Vets urging tick checks for pets
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.
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.”
Making sure: trainee veterinarian nurse Julia Fuller tests Titch for deadly ticks