Vet Dr Anton Sluyters, pictured with Jed Mitchell and pup Kyza, warns pet owners of an early start to the tick season.
Vet Dr Anton Sluyters, pictured with Jed Mitchell and pup Kyza, warns pet owners of an early start to the tick season. Kate Matthews

Vet warns of paralysis ticks

CLARENCE Valley pet owners are being warned to be extra vigilant against a deadly wave of paralysis ticks after the parasite has made an early come-back.

Yamba veterinary surgeon Dr Anton Sluyters said his clinic had seen at least a dozen cases of tick poisoning over the past couple of weeks, generally one a day and far more than he usually sees at this time of year.

He said while in previous years there had been a fairly reliable tick season, from late August through to the end of February, more recently the season virtually carried on all year round.

"In the past five years I have found, due to changes in weather patterns and warmer winter conditions, the gentle rainfall and higher temperatures suit ticks nicely, waking them up when they would otherwise be dormant," Dr Sluyters said.

He warns pet owners to watch closely for the symptoms, such as loss of strength, a change to the sound of the animal's bark or meow, and finally a change of breathing and more severe para- lysis.

"Ideally owners should check their pet at least every second day by searching their body thoroughly," Dr Sluyters said.

"Most animals will have a threshold of four days and if the tick is not removed before this time frame, most animals will die."

Dr Sluyters said once symptoms are present, medical treatment is necessary in the form of rest and an anti-serum, which in many cases, can be successful.

For most people tick bites don't pose major problems, but in some cases a person can have an allergic reaction to the toxin and in extreme cases be paralysed.

 

Warning signs

  • Weakness in back legs, "laziness",
  • Vomiting or dry retching.
  • Changes to bark or meow.
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Breathing difficulties.


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