Pet owners on Australia’s east coast know to watch out for ticks, but the unusual weather means Victorians should also be on the lookout.
Traditionally, ticks are more common along the NSW and Queensland coasts, while some cases also occur in and around Victorian border towns.
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But Bronwyn Oke, RSPCA Victoria’s chief veterinarian, said there had been reports of ticks infesting pets even in the Melbourne suburbs.
“Tick season is definitely upon us,” said Dr. Oke to AAP.
“It’s difficult in Victoria because we usually only see it in certain parts like Lakes Entrance, there’s a little Gippsland belt, but we’ve seen a little speck in Eltham and Diamond Creek.”
The unusually wet weather could be the reason behind the unexpected boom, as well as more people returning from trips along the coast.
Tick season typically lasts from October to March, but heavy rains in spring and summer can cause cases to spike.
dr Oke said some ticks travel in camping gear or clothing and can infest family pets when they get home.
Ticks are parasites that feed on human and animal blood.
In Australia, there are three main species of pets that ticks infest – the bush tick, the brown dog tick and the paralytic tick.
The latter can be found in the smallest of spaces, but their bite can be deadly for animals.
This year’s spike in cases has already led to a nationwide shortage of antiserum used to treat affected pets.
dr Oke said it’s important to be proactive about ticks and know what to do in the event of a severe bite.
“If you go into a public area, make sure your dog is groomed because it will help you spot ticks a little earlier,” she said.
“And if you’re in an area where ticks are rampant, give your pet a really big massage and pats every day so you can feel something.” Preventive medicine is also important.”
Preventive treatments include tick collars, chews, tablets, and topical products.
dr Oke said common tick sites are the head, ears, mouth, toes or groin, but she suggested examining the animal all over to be sure.
Symptoms of a tick bite
- * Redness and swelling at the bite site
- * Loss of coordination in the hind legs
- * Change in bark or meow
- * Choking, coughing and vomiting
- * Excessive salivation
- * Loss of appetite
- * Progressive paralysis
- * Difficulty breathing
https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/pets/warning-of-tick-season-with-real-bite-c-8979633 What are the symptoms of a tick bite? Dog owners warned as cases surge on Australia’s east coast