Bent Street Veterinary Service’s Lauren Waugh checks Jake for ticks, one of the many dogs she has checked and treated in recent weeks.
Bent Street Veterinary Service’s Lauren Waugh checks Jake for ticks, one of the many dogs she has checked and treated in recent weeks. Renee Pilcher

Vets issue tick alert

TICKS are on the move again and it's sizing up to be one of the worst tick seasons on record, according to Gympie region veterinarians.

The Australian Veterinary Association confirmed the tick season had started early and vets were seeing a huge increase in tick paralysis cases right across the east coast of Australia, with about 920 cases reported in Queensland and New South Wales alone.

Dog owners in Gympie's built-up areas are also reporting an increase of ticks on their dogs.

From August to October, 387 pets were treated at Gympie Veterinary Services for tick paralysis.

“The warm, wet spring has allowed an apparent increase in tick cases and we have seen more than usual this year,” said Dr Cathy Milgate, Gympie Veterinary Services director.

“Many have been very severe and, despite intensive care, we have lost some much-loved pets.

“Tick paralysis is a very serious, often fatal disease and we counsel owners to employ good preventative measures to avoid what can be a heart-breaking condition,” she said.

Bent Street Veterinary Service's Lauren Waugh said they had just sent several dogs home after being treated for tick paralysis, including one that had presented with delayed onset symptoms.

“The owner had taken ticks off the dog but a few days later he presented with delayed onset symptoms even though there were no ticks on him when he was brought in,” Ms Waugh said.

“The rain and humidity certainly brings (the ticks) out.” Paralysis ticks are the single most dangerous parasite for dogs and cats in the Gympie region and if left untreated, can result in death.

A survey by Bayer Animal Health found that 20 per cent of dog owners in Queensland had experienced tick paralysis in their pets, with a further 19 per cent knowing someone whose dog has had tick paralysis.

Experts advise to apply tick prevention treatments every two weeks during tick season.

However, according to the survey, only eight per cent of dog owners surveyed were using preventative treatments fortnightly to protect their dogs during tick season, while 27 per cent of surveyed dog owners were treating their pets every four weeks.

Paralysis ticks are commonly found in long grass or scrub and tend to attach to the head and neck region of the pet but can be found anywhere on the body.

They release a toxin during feeding which causes a variety of clinical signs.

This is why it is important to repel the ticks before they get the chance to bite.

Gympie Times


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