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Ticks on the increase - humans and animals beware



Pet owners are warned to beware after Tuross Head, Bingie, Broulee, Moruya South Head and Bodalla are often identified as being in the top six postcodes as the worst NSW hot spots for the deadly eastern paralysis ticks in annual tick mapping studies. Recent reports in the ACT advise those holidaying on the coast to check their animals on return and to possibly consider a tick treatment before they come to the coast as ticks have crossed the border via their host animal and are becoming more common in the ACT. Tick paralysis results from a neurotoxin secreted in the saliva of the tick as it sucks the blood of its host. While sucking, it excretes tick toxin in to the blood. Warm, humid weather are ideal conditions for ticks, and, and now, at the start of the tick season. Signs of tick paralysis in dogs and cats ranges from stumbling and struggling to carry body weight, to paralysis of the airways. Other symptoms include a loss of voice (bark or meow), wobbly legs, loss of appetite, vomiting and changes in gum colour or pupil size. Of concern also is that there are now cases of mammalian meat allergy (MMA), an emerging allergy where the tick’s saliva changes a person’s immune system to start reacting to the meat of mammals Having an allergy to mammalian meat caused by tick bite sounds absurd, but for a growing number of Australians there’s a lot of chicken and fish on the menu now. Unlike traditional food allergies MMA has a delayed reaction of anywhere between two and 10 hours. Most reactions happen between four to six hours after ingestion. Allergic symptoms vary, from hives, to gastrointestinal pain and anaphylaxis. For more information visit http://www.tiara.org.au/

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