Small Animal Info

Tick Paralysis

Paralysis ticks Ixodes holocyclus (also known as dog ticks, shell-backs or scrub ticks) are found on the east coast of Australia. They can be fatal to your pets – once attached they release a toxin from their salivary glands that affects the animals central nervous system and causes paralysis. The biggest risk involves vomiting whilst upper airway muscles are paralysed which can result in them inhaling their vomit and lead to pneumonia.

Clinical signs to look out for:

  • Inappetence
  • Wobbly and uncoordinated on feet – Paralysis begins with a loss of coordination and strength in the hind limbs and moves forwards, eventually resulting in complete paralysis including paralysis of the chest muscles and oesophagus
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Shaking
  • Panting or noisy (shallow, labored) breathing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Change in the bark/voice

Ticks are usually found on the front half of the body, so when you are checking your dog don't forget to check inside the ears or in between the front toes. Removing a tick is achieved easily by grasping it nearest to the skin and twisting to ensure you remove the mouthpiece as well as the engorged body. Even after the tick has been removed the toxin continues to work for up to 12 hours so treatment is vital in ensuring the survival of your pet.

DVC standards of care

  • Intravenous fluid therapy
  • Intravenous administration of tick antiserum over 30 minutes
  • Sedation and/or general anaesthesia to prevent your pet from getting stressed
  • Antinausea injection
  • Antibiotics if there is any risk or evidence of vomiting
  • Hospitalisation
  • Monitor oxygenation - in more severe cases manual or mechanical ventilation is required, as well as the placement of a tracheostomy – a surgical procedure to open the windpipe.
  • Prior to sending your pet home following successful treatment we will give them a tick bath to ensure there are no more ticks attached

Prevention is better than cure!

  • Perform a tick search on your pet daily
  • Killtix Tick Collar: A preventative collar that provides protection for one month
  • Frontline Plus: Spot on treatment to be applied fortnightly to your dog for tick protection for dogs only
  • Frontline spray: The only preventative measure available for cat protection – apply the desired number of sprays to your cat for three weeks prevention
  • Advantix: NOT FOR USE ON CATS. Spot on treatment to be applied fortnightly to your dog for tick protection

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Clinic Hours
Mon - Fri:8.30am - 5.00pm

Phone:02 6657 2416
Emergency:02 6657 2416(24 hours)
Fax:02 6657 2797

Address:12 Hickory St,

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