The beginning of October marks the beginning of peak season for ticks on the Mid Coast.
Most commonly found in moist, bushy areas, ticks aren’t very mobile. They latch on to people and animals when they make contact, and once connected, can causes tick paralysis through a toxin in their saliva.
Veterinarian Sue Harvey, from Wingham and Valley Vets, has already seen a number of tick cases this year, and expects many more over the coming months.
“This isn’t necessarily a bad season, this area just seems to be the tick capital of Australia,” she said.
“October and November are the worst months. We keep a record of tick cases and surprisingly February seems to be the quietest month of the year.”
Ticks can pose a threat to animals and people alike, but there are a number of treatments that can reduce the risk of encountering them.
With dogs, ticks are very easy to avoid. There are various products available that should be applied either monthly or every few months that will repel ticks.
“I haven’t seen a case where a dog has had a tick after they have been properly treated with those products,” said Sue.
“But cats are much harder to treat. You can get sprays that need to be applied regularly, which in most cases cats hate, but there is no month to month treatment like those used for dogs.”
Signs of tick paralysis can include loss of voice, wobbliness and trouble breathing, with symptoms varying hugely from pet to pet, or person to person.
“It’s a bit different with children. You want to kill the tick before you pull it off, otherwise the child might develop an allergic reaction,” said Sue.
“In any case, you want to get rid of the tick as soon as possible.”
Mowing your lawns regularly and reducing the amount of mulch and leaf litter lying around can make your property less appealing to ticks, and if symptoms of tick paralysis are present, it’s best to seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.