KILLERS: Paralysis ticks are about.
KILLERS: Paralysis ticks are about. Contributed

Urgent warning to pet owners as ticks come out of hiding

THE recent welcome rain combined with early high temperatures means paralysis ticks are already in abundance.

A number of private vets, as well as the RSPCA, are already seeing a stream of animals being brought in with tick paralysis.

Ticks can cause serious illness and even death in pets, so the RSPCA is urging all pet owners to remain vigilant.

RSPCA Queensland's senior veterinarian Dr Anne Chester is warning all pet owners to check their pets thoroughly for any signs of ticks.

"Our main concern is the paralysis tick," she said.

"All pet owners should seek advice from their vet on the best form of tick prevention.

"There are several alternatives, including washes, collars, sprays, spot-ons and tablets.

"The paralysis tick can actvery quickly indeed and can cause severe impairment or worse. It's a killer."

When checking your pet for ticks, feel for small lumps, not just on their torso but also in hidden places, such as under the collar, between toes and inside their ears.

Dr Chester said that people needed to be aware of the early symptoms of tick paralysis.

These included an unsteady staggering gait and a dry cough.

But even just a change in the animal's bark or meow could mean they had been infected.

"They should seek veterinary attention immediately," Dr Chester said. "The sooner the antiserum is administered, the less chance there is of the tick poisoning being lethal.

"Prompt action can and will save lives."

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty is one person who can identify with the problem.

His dog, Hooper, had a tick on him despite wearing a tick collar.

"You really do need to check for ticks daily, even if they are taking tick preventives," Mr Beatty said.

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