‘It will literally save their life’: Dog owner's warning
A COFFS Harbour resident whose dog had a brush with death has issued a warning over tick treatments.
When Nora Johnstone's dog Max went off his food and showed signs of being unable to stand up, she knew something wasn't right and when his condition worsened he was rushed to the vet.
Despite usually using preventive tick treatments on Max, Ms Johnstone realised the signs pointed towards a paralysis tick bite.
"Naturally we were concerned as Max is not a young dog and we were aware of the dangers of a paralysis tick bite," she said.
"We walk Max every day at the many local beaches and bushland areas. We missed one treatment and that was all it took."
Thankfully, Max made a full recovery after a visit to the vet and has since put the troubling episode behind him as he continues his life as a dog.
Tick season in Australia varies from region to region though it is generally thought to start around September, running through to March and the paralysis tick - ixodes holocyclus - is unique to the east coast.
The little critters can cause huge problems for pet owners and are considered one of the most dangerous parasites for dogs and cats. Ms Johnstone wants people to know tick bites can be prevented.
"It's very distressing to see your beloved pet experiencing the horrible side effects of tick paralysis," she said.
"Prevention is important for your pet's health and to also avoid the considerable costs involved with treatment. It will literally save their life."
Vets are also bracing for the annual influx of sick animals and Dr Rob Mills from Moonee Beach Veterinary Surgery is encouraging dog and cat owners to proactively protect their pets from the deadly parasite.
"I have seen the devastating outcome for both pets and owners when preventive paralysis tick treatments are not administered," Dr Mills said.
"Unfortunately for us in Coffs Harbour the high humidity provides the ideal environment for paralysis ticks, which means there can be a lot of them around and they can kill your pet."
"The good news is, there are long-lasting preventive treatment options available for both dogs and cats, and we're here to help. Don't leave it until it's too late.
Dr Mills is encouraging pet owners to speak to their local vet about a suitable treatment plan.
Aside from treatments, pet owners should regularly inspect their pets for ticks and watch out for symptoms like loss of appetite, regurgitating food and unsteadiness on their feet or 'wobbly walk'.