Ticks found in town
VETS have considered Stanthorpe’s town centre to be tick free until now.
Vet Kirstin Widderick is concerned a tick found on a cat may be the first of many and is urging pet owners to be vigilant.
“It doesn’t take much if your dog or your neighbour’s dog goes into a tick area and comes back with ticks’ larval stages,” she said.
Ticks can attach to any mammal, where they inject toxins that impact the animal’s respiratory system and heart, causing inability to move and breathe.
“First symptoms can be paralysis but generally speaking their bark or their meow will change,” Dr Widderick said.
“The second thing is their breathing goes funny – their breathing rate will go up higher and sometimes they’ll make a noise when they pant.”
Ticks can be prevented through tablets for dogs or spot treatment for cats, however Dr Widderick urges pet owners to do spot checks every two days.
“They can be hard to find,” she said.
“It’s almost like feeling for a scab. Always check. Ticks are so good at what they do – paralysing and killing.”
Owners can remove ticks themselves by using insect repellent and tick remover tools but must take care not to squeeze the tick’s body.
“It will actually inject more toxin quickly,” Dr Widderick said. “Don’t use metho or kerosene, it just aggravates them.”
Anyone concerned about removing a tick should contact their vet.
SPOT CHECK: Vet Kirstin Widderick is reminding owners of long-haired animals to keep their hair trimmed so it’s easier to spot and feel ticks. INSET: Mr Biggles did not survive his paralysis tick.