PET OWNERS across the Ipswich area have been urged to safeguard their furry friends against deadly tick paralysis following a spike in cases over recent months.
The dire warning comes amid a recent health alert issued by experts at Greater Springfield Veterinary, who say recent weather conditions could be to blame.
Senior veterinary nurse Victoria Law explained the clinic had even treated cases from as early as August – despite tick season usually occurring from September to March.
“We have seen a number of tick paralysis cases this summer, they range from mildly unwell to pets who require critical care monitoring and a respirator machine to help them breathe,” she said.
Sadly, pet owner complacency was also a likely contributor to the reported spike in cases.
“Pet owners usually believe that because tick season is only for a few months of the year, they don’t really need to worry about treatment at other times,” added Ms Law.
“What we’re now seeing as result is an influx of tick cases in the months where previously we weren’t seeing any.”
It is becoming so frequent that many pets – even ones not regularly exposed to public outdoors areas – have managed to contract ticks.
“Any owner who has a backyard with a very bushy outlook or that attracts a lot of native wildlife is absolutely considered a high-risk environment for those pests to hide,”
“Possums, birds, they carry ticks. They can unfortunately drop these paralysis ticks off in the backyard and impact the pet.”
Fortunately, none of Ms Law’s cases have yet to prove fatal despite the enormous costs associated with veterinary treatment.
Some cases, she added, had soared upward of $8000 due to the animal’s critical condition.
The minimum cost owners could expect to fork out would be around the $1200 mark.
“This year we’ve been very lucky to safe all of our pets, but that could be based on the fact owners could have acted quickly enough for the medication to take hold,” she explained.
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“[Cost] also depends on how many days that pet needs to spend in hospital and whether or not they need that specialist critical monitoring.”
She suggested a year-round treatment plan was best practice, while daily inspections were also recommended.
“Generally, when we’re talking about tick preventatives, we tend to promote that prevention is better than cure motto.”
“It probably costs about $30 a month to cover your pet for tick prevention versus thousands of dollars if they end up with paralysis.”
Peace of mind would also prove an added benefit to consistent treatment, Ms Law concluded.