IT is vital to protect your pooch or cat from deadly parasites as tick season sets in on the Mid North Coast.
Tick season began in early September and runs until after the New Year.
About 10,000 NSW dogs are affected each year – and there is about a five per cent fatality rate.
Dr Liz Handelsman from East Port Veterinary Hospital said prevention is the best medicine.
"We have already seen quite a few cases in both dogs and cats this year,” she said.
“There is nothing better than checking your pet daily, especially if going through bushland or on a property. Checking them is the first line of defence.”
Preventative medication has improved greatly in recent years.
Dogs can now be given one month or three month safeguards by way of tablets, liquid on the neck, chewable treat-like morsels and sprays.
Unfortunately, there is not much on the market for felines, making manual checks of your animal an important part of the day.
“There are products that have come on the market in the last few years which have been really good in preventing the affects of a tick,” Dr Handelsman said.
“We have already treated cats and dogs for ticks this year, and none were using prevention.
“The take home message is to put your animal on something so that if they are bitten, they are protected.”
Ticks are parasites that feed on the animal and human blood. Ticks occur in humid, moist bushy areas.
They are not very mobile but rely on passing animals to both feed on and transport them.
Ticks are known to inject toxins that cause local irritation or mild irritation, however most tick bites cause little or no symptoms.
Tick borne diseases, tick paralysis and severe allergic reactions can pose serious health threat.
Early symptoms of tick paralysis can include rashes, headache, fever, flu like symptoms, tenderness of lymph nodes, unsteady gait, intolerance to bright light, increased weakness of the limbs and partial facial paralysis.
If your pet is bitten, remove the tick and take them straight to the vet with the tick for identification.