Tick season in full swing
THE North Coast tick season is well under way and this week's rain is expected to send it into overdrive.
Lismore veterinary surgeon Nick Jones said it had been a surprisingly active tick season, considering the dry weather, and he warned pet owners and farmers to be on alert for tick poisoning with the rising humidity.
“Ticks are very susceptible to desiccation in the dry so the high level of activity is unusual,” he said.
“We expect it to get a lot worse now the humidity is on the rise.
“We had three cases on Monday and four over the weekend - one of them was a Shetland pony.”
Dr Jones said all domesticated animals were susceptible to tick poisoning, including dogs, cats, rodents, guinea pigs, foals and goats.
Owners should give their pets a full tick check each day, even if a preventative product was being used, Dr Jones said.
“There are a number of products your vet can advise you on,” Dr Jones.
“Some are very good, but nothing works one hundred per cent.”
“We had a tick poisoning presentation yesterday and the owner had a tick collar and a preventative product on the animal.
“The best thing to do is get the tick off straight away.
“Recent research suggests the method doesn't matter, just get them off as quickly as possible.”
Other myths recently dispelled included concerns about leaving the head or other bits behind. These are now known to be harmless to the host animal.
Also, the paralysis tick does not burrow its head into the skin as previously thought.
“Owners need to keep a close eye on the animal for 48 to 72 hours after removal, as paralysis can set in long after the tick has been removed,” Dr Jones said.
If any symptoms appeared owners should get their animals to a veterinary surgeon as quickly as possible.
According to Dr Jones, 95 per cent of presentations survive with the help of a locally-produced antivenene.PARALYSIS TICK SYMPTOMS:
CHANGE of animal voice; glazed look in the eyes; difficulty in swallowing; drooling; vomiting; forced breathing; grunting while breathing; coughing/ gagging; weakness in legs or inability to get up. Tick poisoning cases can present as any or all of these symptoms.