Ignorance, misinformation over ticks is killing our pets
TICK season is in full swing, and veterinarians are warning Gympie residents to be especially vigilant as we head into especially bad season for the parasites.
"We've probably had three or four times as many as this time last year," said Dr Shannon Coyne.
A veterinarian with Gympie Veterinary Services, Dr Coyne said the quiet period had given a lot of people a false sense of security.
"Last year was the quietest year in 10 years... and people are being caught out," he said.
"We've probably lost five in the last week."
The drastic increase in cases follows a new study by animal health company MERIAL which identifies Gympie as the second worst area in Queensland with 296 cases over a five-year period.
According to Dr Coyne, many cases of pets affected by paralysis ticks could be easily avoided.
"About 80% of the tick cases we see have got no preventative whatsoever," he said.
"And the other 20% have a preventative that's overdue."
A relaxed guard was not the only problem people had though, Dr Coyne said, pointing out that many people were also working on out-of-date or incorrect information.
It was especially important given the difference between Australian and American ticks, which people who simply use Google might not realise.
"The toxin in Australia just sits a little under the skin and leaks out over about three days.
"So they can deteriorate for three to four days after the tick comes off, but people don't realise that."
He also pointed out the difference in tick seasons, saying because New South Wales' started so much later it left people confused.
"A lot of people say 'how come I've got a paralysis tick when it's not tick season yet?"
Paralysis ticks not only affect dogs, but also cats, lambs, foals, calves, alpacas and birds.
Dr Coyne said it was not only important for people to regularly check their pets, but if they do locate a tick they should get in touch with their veterinarian about it to ensure their pet's wellbeing, especially if they are not 100% certain.
"Remove it and keep it so we can identify it."