Vets and pet owners in the far north should keep their eyes peeled for paralysis ticks. Cairns vet practices have started to see an increase in the number of patients with these parasites even though the tick season usually doesn’t begin until later in the year.
“May is usually a month where you don’t see any cases but we have seen two to three this month and we’re seeing lots of people bringing in immature ticks, which is usually a sign we’ll see adults later in the year,” Dr Max Fargher, Greencross Vets Redlynch Central veterinary director told the Cairns Post.
“People down south normally see them in December, but here the season starts in June-July and peaks in August-September.”
During the peak season the staff at Redlynch clinic will have two to three paralysis tick patients per day. As the season wanes numbers will fall back to being two to three a week.
Veterinary nurse Sarah McMahon recommends vets push for their clients to use prevention, citing it as the easiest, safest and most cost-effective method for protecting pets.
“Prevention is definitely better than a cure, it’s so easy to prevent with the products we have out now,” said McMahon.
Dr Fargher recommends daily searches, in addition to prevention methods. Vets should particularly remind owners whose pets spend time in the bush, long grass or other areas that have high-threat levels.
“If you suspect your dog has a tick on it, bring it straight in,” said Fargher.
“People search animals themselves, but nine out of 10 have searched the dog at home and still haven’t been able to find it.”