Dec 06
dog looking sad and unwell

Paralysis Tick Prevention Tips for Pets

Paralysis ticks (scientifically known as Ixodes holocyclus) pose a significant threat to pets, primarily along Australia’s east coast, spanning from North Queensland to Victoria. Thriving in warm, humid climates, these ticks are a year-round concern in the north and peak during Spring and Summer in New South Wales and northern Victoria.

Recognising the Signs of Tick Paralysis

Ticks inject a potent toxin while feeding on your pet, impacting nerve function and potentially leading to fatalities if not promptly addressed. Symptoms may take over five days to be seen, and include:

  • Altered vocalisation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting or gagging
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness progressing to paralysis, often starting in the hind legs and spreading to all limbs
  • Difficulty breathing

Immediate veterinary attention is crucial if you observe any of these signs, as early intervention maximizes the chances of a full recovery.

Prioritising Prevention

Preventing tick paralysis is paramount for safeguarding your pets. Administering preventive medications as directed is vital; even a brief lapse in treatment leaves your pet vulnerable. Ensure that the preventative includes protection against paralysis ticks, and never use dog tick products on cats, as they can be lethal.

Proactive Measures for Tick-Free Living:

  • Administer preventative medication consistently and set reminders to avoid missed doses.
  • Conduct a 5 minute daily thorough tick check by running your fingertips through your pet’s coat, paying close attention to the head, ears, and paws.
  • Keep your grass trimmed short to reduce tick habitats.

Handling Tick Encounters

If you discover a tick, swift removal is imperative. Utilise a tick removal tool or tweezers to carefully extract the tick, ensuring all parts are removed. Place the tick in a container for identification by your veterinarian, especially if you’re unable to reach a clinic immediately.

By staying vigilant, adhering to preventive measures, and promptly addressing tick encounters, you can effectively protect your pet from the dangers of paralysis ticks. Prioritise their safety and well-being to ensure many happy and healthy adventures together.

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About The Author

Claire is a QLD graduate with 19 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.