Maclean a paralysis tick bites hotspot, say vets

The engorged paralysis tick. Photo: Rodney Stevens/ The Daily Examiner.
The engorged paralysis tick. Photo: Rodney Stevens/ The Daily Examiner. Rodney Stevens

A CLARENCE Valley town has been named on the top 10 hotspots for paralysis tick bites reported by veterinarians.

In a study done by parasitologist Professor Stephen Baker and animal health company MERIAL, Coffs Harbour, Moruya and Tuross Head were named as some of the worst affected areas.

But Maclean has made the cut with 106 cases of paralysis tick bites.

Veterinarian Kestel Howard from Maclean Vet Clinic said in the past couple of weeks, Maclean has seen an increase in paralysis tick bites.

"In the past couple of weeks, we've had one or two a day. It's started up lately, we've noticed worse ones in Maclean than in our Yamba clinic," Ms Howard said.

"We are seeing more out that way, mainly I think part of the reason is they are associated with shrub areas and there is less of that in Yamba than there in in Maclean."

Ms Howard said the main thing to help keep your pets safe is to use prevention tactics.

"There are oral tablets that are really good, or tick collars," she said. "They don't necessarily prevent them from biting them but once they get on the animal, they will die."

She added that checking your pet every day is always a good way to insure they do not have ticks.

"Ticks do have to be in place for a few days before they threaten your animal's life," Ms Howard said.

According to the vet, there are a lot of wives tales about what to do when your pet gets a tick.

"The main thing is to get them off, try not to squeeze them, there is no advantage to killing the tick before you take it off," Ms Howard said.

"It's awesome for people to keep the tick so we can check if it's a paralysis tick."

Ms Howard said it's best to monitor their pets, but if they worried, to give the vet a call.

"The best thing is to bring them in, if they are showing any signs they can be really subtle," she said.

"If they are doing anything abnormal, check, check check."

Paralysis ticks can present in a number of different ways:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Altered pupil size
  • Changes in breathing sound or pattern
  • Altered ability to move, particularly with the back legs
  • A change in gum colour
  • Change or loss of voice (bark or meow)
  • Coughing
  • Inability to blink in one or both eyes

The full list of hotspots:

Coffs Harbour, 2450, 932 cases

Moruya, Tuross Head, Broulee,Moruya Heads, 2537, 806 cases

Sanctuary Point, Vincentia, Old Erowal Bay, Culburra Beach, 2540, 352 cases

Port Macquarie, 2444, 256 cases

Alstonville 2477, 180 cases

Wyee, Chain Valley Bay, 2259, 176 cases

Bodalla, 2545, 117 cases

Maclean, 2463, 106 cases

Murwillumbah, 2484, 105 cases

Mount Hutton, 2290, 103 cases

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