Dogs & Cats

Paralysis ticks are ectoparasites that attach themselves to a host (i.e. your pet) and feed on the host’s blood. As they feed, they inject a neurotoxin into the animal’s bloodstream that causes progressive paralysis and death in most cases, if left untreated.

Common clinical signs of tick paralysis include the following:

  • Lethargy (i.e. the animal is “not itself” or is quieter than usual)
  • Gagging, coughing, vomiting
  • Weak/wobbly in the back end or unable to walk at all
  • Change in meow or bark
  • Increased respiratory effort (e.g. panting)

If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, we recommend that you search for a tick or a tick crater. If you find a tick, it should be removed immediately. This can be achieved by using a tick remover or a pair of tweezers. Once the tick has been removed, keep it in a small bag or container for positive identification by the vet.

At this point it’s important to get to the vet as soon as possible for treatment. The longer the time between symptoms occurring and treatment commencing, the longer the recovery period will be and the more complications can arise, endangering your pet’s life. This also may mean an increased cost for treatment to you as the owner. Many animals develop symptoms after the tick is removed, so any animal should be monitored closely for symptoms for 2-3 days after ticks are removed.

For more information regarding tick prevention for your pets, please contact the clinic.