Paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) is a dangerous parasite that affects Australian dogs and cats. The ticks are found along the eastern coastline of Australia from North Queensland to Northern Victoria, roughly within a band of 20km inland from the coast. They will be found all year round in North Queensland, and from August to April further south.
The ticks latch onto your dog or cats skin to feed whilst simultaneously injecting their toxin which causes what we call tick paralysis.
Some of the initial signs of tick paralysis might be:
- Change of voice in your pet (ie the bark, meow)
- Not eating
- Weakness in back legs progressing to paralysis
- Difficulty breathing
If your pet is showing clinical signs of tick paralysis, you must take them to the Vet immediately.
Tips to prevent ticks on your pet
If you’re in a tick area, at tick season make sure you do the following:
- Thoroughly search your pet for ticks DAILY (use your fingers and search through the coat – especially face, ears, neck, shoulder and paws for a minimum of 10 minutes – they will love the attention!)
- Clip long haired pets so you can search and see ticks more easily
- Keep away from bushland
- Use an approved anti tick collar, spot on or spray- remember no product is 100% effective on their own.
Found a tick?
If you find a tick remove it as quickly as possible – using a tick removal tool pull it off at the head at the point of insertion to the skin trying to leave the body undisturbed. Keep the tick in a jar for identification by your Veterinarian, and head there as soon as possible.
Cautionary note: Remember you cannot use dog tick products on your cat as they can cause a fatal reaction.