Protect your pets from paraylsis ticks!

Not only is the paralysis tick one of the most common, but it’s also one of the most dangerous.

Every year, the paralysis tick will cause illness in over 100,000 companion animals on the east coast of Australia. Paralysis ticks are external parasites that suck the blood from their host animal. Their salivary glands produce a toxin that affects the host’s nervous system.

Not only is the paralysis tick one of the most common, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Once paralysis occurs, the animal is likely to die unless treated quickly with tick antiserum transfused by a vet, and full recovery can take weeks.

Where are paralysis ticks found?

Ticks need humidity and mild weather to develop and cannot survive in cold climates. Consequently, they are most commonly found along the east coast of Australia during the warmer months. Still, they can be found inland in suitable habitats all year round.

What do ticks look like?

Ticks vary between 1mm and 10mm long, depending on age. They look like tiny spiders with white, egg-shaped bodies. This body becomes more prominent and darker as it fills with blood.

How can I protect my pet?

The best way to protect your pet is to check them daily by following these steps:

  • Begin with their head and remember that you’re more likely to feel the tick than see it, so make sure you use your hands.
  • Check inside your pet’s ears, nose, and mouth, under their chin and around their throat. Then, move down the front legs and check in between their toes.
  • Next, feel along their body, check their belly, and scan their back legs and between their toes.
  • Inspect your pet’s genital region as ticks can sometimes be found there, and finish with their tail.

It’s a good idea to use a tick treatment to either repel ticks or kill them if they attach – AWLQ recommends Frontline Plus for cats  and NexGard Spectra for dogs. However, it’s best to consult your vet about the most suitable product for your pet.

What are the signs of tick poisoning?

If your pet has come into contact with a paralysis tick, it will experience paralysis in various forms. A typical case will start with vomiting and progress to weakness in the hind limbs, which will then progress to total paralysis of the whole body. The early symptoms may include the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting or dry retching
  • Excessive salivation
  • Coughing
  • Noisy panting

What should I do if my pet has a paralysis tick?

Paralysis ticks can lead to an animal needing to be ventilated, and sadly many victims of these ticks do not recover. If your pet shows any signs of tick paralysis, you should promptly take them to a veterinarian for treatment.

There is a deadly new strain of tick disease, which first appeared in Western Australia last year. The brown dog tick is infected with the bacteria Ehrlichia canis (E. canis). So if you are transporting a dog between states, you must have your dog’s health checked. If you suspect a dog in Queensland is infected with E. canis; you must report it to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.