Ticks, one of the most unwelcome creatures in creation, appear to have started tormenting pets in the Eurobodalla two months ahead of schedule.
Veterinarians in both Batemans Bay and Moruya have reported an unusually high number of ticks appearing embedded in pets - and in themselves.
“We have had seven so far this month, and we had seven in June,” Moruya Veterinary Hospital’s Mary Atkinson said.
“Normally we would only have about two per month at this time of the year.”
Ms Atkinson said that this is the second year running that an unusually high number of tick cases have occurred.
“We had seven cases in both June and July last year,” she said.
Spring is usually the worst time of year for tick cases, which, in the worst instances, can result in paralysis and death of the pet.
Eurocoast Veterinary Centre surgeon Adam Toyer has also noticed an increase.
“We have treated a cat and a dog for tick bites, and lots of our clients have reported removing ticks from their pets and themselves,” he said.
“It is odd for this time of year.”
Mr Toyer believes that pets are picking up the ticks in low, scrubby bushland “with lots of native animals”.
He said the first thing pet owners needed to do when finding a tick on their pet was remove it.
“There are a lot of old wives’ tales about what to do, but the best thing is to pick it off and then contact the vet,” he said.
“If the animal is wobbly, can’t walk or its breathing changes, then it should be treated for the most happy outcome.”
Mr Toyer said bigger pets weren’t necessarily safer from ticks than smaller ones.
“There is a lot of individual variation between pets in their response to tick poison,” he said.
“Big dogs are lost as often as little ones, and larger dogs usually take longer to recover. Cats tend to be more resistant than dogs, but they are more difficult to treat because they don’t respond to the anti-serum as well.”
Caseys Beach Veterinary Clinic at Batehaven has had three tick cases this month.
“This is unusual but not exceptionally high,” veterinarian Sean Harrison said.
Of the three cases, two animals were fine and one was treated for paralysis and later recovered.
Mr Harrison said his clinic was advising pet owners to provide their animals with anti-tick precautionary treatment every two weeks.