VETS have warned pet owners that ticks are no longer simply a warm-weather threat, with cases on the rise this winter.
Ticks are usually most common in spring, but a wetter start to the year has led to a spike in bites.
Karalee resident Kristy Dowell found this out first hand, with her red cattle dog Izzy spending a week at the vet after being struck down by a tick.
"We found her in the paddock unable to move. We had a quick look and we did find the paralysis tick," Mrs Dowell said.
"She's a fairly active dog so they think the poison pumped through her pretty quickly."
Silkstone vet Simon Coates said his clinic had seen an unprecedented number of tick cases this year.
"We used to see them from August to December but now we're getting them in June and July. It's a devastating thing to happen," Dr Coates said.
"We treat ticks very aggressively and we've had two die from tick paralysis (this winter), which is very unusual."
Dr Coates said owners should ensure their pets were protected all year round.
"It's catching people off guard because they don't use any preventative medication during winter," he said.
"Use the spot-on treatments like Frontline Plus, Advantix. They are very effective treatments. They need to go on every two weeks.
"You can also use tick collars. They contain product in the collar, a rubber type, which has drug injected into it."
Dr Coates said owners should contact their vet immediately if their pet had a tick.
"As soon as they see a tick, take it straight to the vet. The amazing thing about tick paralysis is that it is so tiny but it can actually kill a dog very quickly," he said.
Since Izzy's ordeal, which cost just under $1600, Mrs Dowell has fitted all her dogs with tick collars.
- Breathing difficulties
- Weakness in back legs
- Loss of appetite
- Changes to bark or meow
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