WHAT IS TICK PARALYSIS? - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views


What is tick paralysis? Tick paralysis is a life threatening condition caused by the paralysis tick Ixodes holocyclus which is found along the east coast of Australia. Paralysis ticks attach to animals to feed on their blood, releasing a toxin as they feed. This toxin blocks the communication between the nerves and muscles resulting in paralysis.

Signs of tick paralysis
Clinical signs of tick paralysis usually appear within 3 – 5 days of the tick attaching and include:

  • panting, noisy breathing, grunting
  • coughing
  • vomiting
  • excessive drooling
  • wobbly back legs, progressing to the front legs over time
  • collapse

How is tick paralysis treated?
Treatment of patients showing clinical signs of tick paralysis requires hospitalisation and administration of tick antiserum. Depending on the severity of signs, supportive therapy including intravenous fluids,
anti-nausea medication, oxygen supplementation or even ventilation may be required.

What do I do if I find a tick on my pet?
Firstly, and most importantly, keep your pet cool, quiet and relaxed. Contact your vet and arrange to have them see your pet as soon as possible. Remove the tick with tweezers or a tick hook and remember to take it with you to the vet for identification – there are a number of tick species around, not all of which cause paralysis.

How can I prevent tick paralysis in my pets?
The use of preventative oral or top spot treatments such as Nexgard, Bravecto or Revolution Plus will help to prevent tick attachment. Chat with your vet to decide the most appropriate product for your pet. Daily searches by thoroughly checking through your dog or cat’s coat with your fingers will help you to find and remove ticks.

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