PET owners should be on high alert as paralysis tick numbers are on the increase around the area.
Weather conditions have been perfect for ticks to breed and this has been reflected in the Disease Watchdog statistics that show 300 cases of tick paralysis have already been recorded in NSW and Queensland.
Local veterenarian Donald Hood of Taree Veterinary Hospital said there had been more than 40 cases treated in a range of animals already.
"They're not fussy these ticks," he said.
"We've treated miniature horses, foals, calves, dogs, alpacas, whatever they can get to."
Donald said because of the mild, dry winter we experienced this year numbers are much higher than normal for this time of the year and after that brief bit of rain the ticks go on a 'feeding frenzy'.
"It's just been perfect conditions for them and we really need to encourage pet owners to be extra-vigilant this year," he added.
Paralysis ticks are usually found in long grass and scrub, particularly in coastal areas, but they are becoming more widespread, with some cases in residential backyards. They tend to attach to the head and neck area and on the chest and front of the leg, but can be found on any part of the body.
Ticks release a toxin when they feed, which leads to tick paralysis.
Pet owners have been urged to check dogs and cats daily if they live in high-risk areas, even if tick-preventatives have been applied.
"Nothing is 100 per cent effective," explained Donald.
"Even though the animal might be up to speed with preventatives, if there's enough ticks this won't matter."
Acting at the first sign of any symptoms is also a big factor in the animal's chances of survival.
"By the time the symptoms start to show then the process of paralysis has already begun so a vet is needed straight away," said Donald.
Donald advised that owners can be extra cautious and use a variety of preventative measures at once.
"There's a range of preventative methods on the market and generally speaking the more expensive brands are the more effective," explained Donald.
"Top brands like Advantix and Frontline in spot-ons, sprays and collars, all used together are very effective."
If you think your dog may have a tick or is showing any symptoms, Taree Veterinary Hospital has a 24 hour service available, call 6552 2633.
And local vets have not just been busy with ticks, but they're run off their feet with a variety of issues at the moment, including nine reported cases of parvovirus as a result of unvaccinated dogs, as well as up to 20 snake bites.