Paralysis Ticks


The threat from Paralysis ticks is the greatest problem we have with parasites affecting dogs and cats in the Toowoomba area. The Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus) can cause paralysis and death within 2-4 days of attachment. The Paralysis Tick is a native tick that normally lives on bandicoots and only occurs in certain geographic locations -  mainly along the coastal eastern seaboard of Australia.  The ticks can attach to pets when they visit the scrubby country inhabited by Bandicoots - primarily during the months of August through to January. Ticks may also hitch a ride back with you or a neighbour in cars, rugs, towels or plants.

The areas along the range escarpment , the scrubby creek banks of Gowrie creek and in the creeks in the Lockyer valley are very well known for harbouring bandicoots and ticks.

If you notice a tick on a pet that is not displaying signs of tick paralysis, remove the tick straight away. To do this, grasp the tick firmly where it attaches to your pet’s skin and give a quick sideways pull. It is better not to try and kill the tick first as the dying tick may inject more of its potent toxin into your pet. If you are not confident removing the tick please call us immediately to make an appointment to have it removed. Once the tick is removed your pet should be kept cool and quiet whilst being closely monitored for 24 hours.

If your pet starts to display any signs of tick paralysis, such as:
  • vomiting
  • weakness or staggering when walking
  • inability to walk
  • breathing difficulty
  • unexplained sore spot (leg, paw or head)
  • drooling saliva
  • altered voice

Seek immediate veterinary attention as this is a genuine veterinary emergency.

If your pet is showing any of the above signs, do not offer food or water as these may be accidentally inhaled in tick-affected animals. Treatment of tick paralysis includes searching for and removing all ticks. This may include clipping the animal completely and/or the use of medication to kill remaining ticks. Tick antiserum is administered to counteract the toxin and supportive care is provided during recovery. This can be very costly in comparison to what it would cost to use tick prevention initially. Unfortunately even despite aggressive therapy – recovery from tick paralysis is not always assured.

No tick prevention is 100% effective and it should always be used in combination with daily searches of your pet. Searching your pet shouldn’t cease once you return from tick-affected regions but should continue for at least 7 days after returning home. Use your fingers to feel over the entire body, especially under the collar, on the face and around the front of your pet. Don’t forget to check carefully between the toes, under the lips and in the ears.
We are more than happy to show you how to do a thorough tick search, please call us to discuss.

Tick prevention options.

There are several options available for dogs. The most suitable options depends on several factors – tolerance of your pet to the various products, frequency of washing or swimming and potential contact with companion pet cats.
Unfortunately no easy option exists for cats

We are more than happy to discuss with you the best tick prevention options for your pets.