Vet Jo Stumm and vet nurse Rebecca Drinkwater check on Marley the chocolate labrador who is recovering well with treatment after being bitten by a paralysis tick.
Vet Jo Stumm and vet nurse Rebecca Drinkwater check on Marley the chocolate labrador who is recovering well with treatment after being bitten by a paralysis tick. Craig Warhurst

Vets warn of deadly parasites

NASTY blood-sucking parasites are on the march and hitting pets hard this year, Gympie vets have warned.

Jo Stumm, from Gympie Veterinary Services, said her vet team had been inundated with pets suffering from tick paralysis, caring for up to 10 animals a day needing treatment.

She says now is the time to make sure pets’ tick and flea protection is up to scratch so the whole family can enjoy the summer fun ahead.

“Tick season is well and truly upon us. We are seeing a lot of cases - quite a few bad ones,” Dr Stumm said.

“While paralysis tick bites can be fatal, they are totally preventable by taking a few precautions.

“There are a number of treatments available, so speak to a vet to choose the right one for your pet.

“It’s also important to examine your pets for ticks every day. Paralysis ticks are a distinctive blue-grey colour, but all ticks should be removed.”

Dr Stumm said the most common places on an animal to find ticks were around the head and neck, but they could be found anywhere on the body.

“Pets can show a number of signs if a paralysis tick has bitten them. Changes in the bark or meow, vomiting, breathing difficulties and paralysis of the limbs, starting in the hind legs and progressing forward to the front legs.

“As soon as you see any of these symptoms contact your vet, as leaving the animal untreated can result in death.

“Tick paralysis is definitely a deadly thing.”

Pets are primarily exposed to ticks when they wander into thick scrubby bushland, but in the past few years, pets have picked up ticks in suburban backyards.

Pet owners can reduce the risk to their pet by keeping backyards clear of unnecessary vegetation and debris, and by not frequenting areas where grasses are overgrown.

With an estimated 20,000 domestic animals paralysed every year in Australia, tick prevention has become a major focus for vets and pet owners.

Gympie Times


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