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Tick Paralysis

Tick paralysis is a potentially deadly condition which occurs when a paralysis tick attaches to your dog or cats body, feeding on your pet's blood. The tick's saliva contains a toxin which is responsible for the rapid onset of paralysis . Not only does this toxin affect muscles that help the animal stand and walk, but it can also affect the muscles used for breathing and swallowing, leading to serious and life threatening conditions.

We are very lucky in Tamworth to not have paralysis ticks endemic in our area. However as they are found in coastal areas, there is a potential for your pet to be infected if they  travel to the coast. It is also possible for paralysis ticks to be carried back   to your home in your vehicle or in luggage.  

What are the clinical signs of tick paralysis?

  • Uncoordination

  • Weakness

  • Collapse

  • Vomiting or retching

  • Change in sound of bark or meow

  • Difficulty breathing

How can I prevent tick paralysis?

Tick paralysis can be easily prevented by using one of  todays commercially available parasiticide products . These monthly products  (containing the isoxazoline class of drug)  are highly effective at preventing tick paralysis. However no product is 100% effective, so if you are taking your pet to the coast you will need to perform a daily tick search as well. 

The video in the following link demonstrates how to perform a tick search on your pet;

Tick Check- Nexgard

Some of the tick control preventatives available at Piper Street Veterinary Clinic are below;

What should I do if I think my dog has tick paralysis?

Contact us , or your closest vet, as soon as possible. Treatment of clinical tick paralysis involves removing the tick, and then administration of  tick antiserum . This acts to mop up unbound toxin, thereby removing it from the circulation. Dogs are usually hospitalised between 2 and 7 days, although this can be variable. Patients with less severe disease will require assistance with intravenous fluids .Some dogs affected with tick paralysis have compromised respiration. If this is severe, the tick paralysis patient may require sedation and ventilator support. 

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