Vets are warning pet owners to be vigilant after experiencing a spike in treating sick animals suffering from tick paralysis.
The tiny bugs can cause chaos, and some animals don’t make it through the ordeal.
Queensland dog owner Belinda Taudevin knows this all too well – she lost her four-legged friend after a tick bite.
“He was in there for four days but the tick was too strong for him and he was too weak, so we had no choice but to let him go,” she said.
She now has a new pet, a Border Collie/Labrador cross, and she checks him for ticks every day.
“Around the collar is always a good place to check,” she said.
Her Albany Creek neighbourhood sits in the epicentre of tick paralysis across Queensland’s south-east.
Pet owners have reported clusters of cases stretching from the Sunshine Coast all the way to the Gold Coast.
Experts warn that ticks aren’t just found in bushland or grass – coastal areas are also at risk.
“We have anecdotes from some vets telling us this year looks like a pretty bad year,” University of Queensland professor Steven Barker said.
Pet owners also need to take care if they’re treating an animal that’s been bitten.
“The important thing is to make sure you find the tick early, before it’s had a chance to stay on the animal for too long,” Brisbane Veterinary Specialist Centre vet Darren Fry said.
For Belinda, she learned the hard way how important it is to check for ticks every day.
“It was a hard lesson to learn, to always be vigilant after every walk,” she said.
“Check your dog, always make sure there is no little lump there that’s not normally there.”