Tick season starts early – far North pet owners urged to protect animals after tick sightings

Tick season starts early

Ticks – prevention is better than cure!

The tick season starts early in far Northern Australia. A growing number of paralysis tick sightings have prompted warnings from Cairns vets for pet owners to protect their animals against the potentially deadly parasites.

The grey-greenish coloured tick can range in size from a pinhead to as big as a thumbnail and causes paralysis by injecting neurotoxins into its host.

“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,” said Greencross Vets Redlynch Central veterinary director Dr Max Fargher told Cairns Post.

“People down south normally see them in December, but here the season starts in June-July and peaks in August-September.”

 At the height of the tick season, staff at the Redlynch clinic see two or three cases a day before numbers drop off to two to three a week.

Both Dr Fargher and Ms McMahon said prevention was the best and most cost-effective way for Far Northerners to protect their pets.

 “Prevention is definitely better than a cure, it’s so easy to prevent with the products we have out now,” said Ms McMahon.

Dr Fargher also recommends daily searches during tick season, particularly for animals that play in the bush or other high-risk areas.

“If you suspect your dog has a tick on it, bring it straight in,” he said.

“People search animals themselves, but nine out of 10 have searched the dog at home and still haven’t been able to find it.”