Rain raises paralysis tick risk

AUTHORITIES have repeated warnings the wet weather has brought an early start to the paralysis tick season – and that pet and livestock owners should be extra careful.

The Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) said the moist conditions had increased the activity of ticks and the threat they posed to livestock.

Mullumbimby vet Richard Gregory agrees people should be vigilant but doesn’t believe the problem is any worse than normal.

“All tick seasons are bad, with a lot of pets dying from the paralysis variety. This year is no worse than usual,” he said.

Mr Gregory said between five and 10 per cent of cases presenting with paralysis ticks were fatal.

While adult livestock tend to be more immune to paralysis ticks, they could be fatal to miniature horses and calves.

Phil Kemsley, the North Coast LHPA vet at Casino, said one or two such ticks “could roll a calf”.

He said he had seen several stricken calves in recent weeks.

“Good producers know to keep their stock in open country, away from the blady grass that the ticks like,” he said.

Mr Kemsley said some farmers relied on chemical treatments, but over-spraying was “a dead loss” when the weather was so wet.

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