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Paralysis Ticks

If you think your pet has a Paralysis Tick......GET TO THE VET FAST.

There is no time to lose with ticks. Every minute counts. We need to treat them with tick anti-serum straight away to stop more of the paralysis poison binding to your pets nerves and stopping them from breathing.

Tick Search

Finding Ticks can be tricky. Start at the front and work back. Check every orifice and cavity. They can get in the nose, ears, mouth, anus. You will usually find them on the chest, neck and face.....the bits that hit the grass first. I find it helps to do the search with your eyes closed, you are feeling for a lump slightly smaller than a pea. However, if you suspect there is a tick, get to the vet.

Signs of Tick Paralysis

The paralysis tick injects a toxin into its host dog or cat as it feeds. Normally, cats show more resistance to this poison than dogs, but if affected the signs are similar for both. Increased body temperature due to either hot weather or exercise will exacerbate symptoms.

If left to run its course, a case of tick poisoning goes through three stages.

Early signs:

  • A change in voice; the meow or bark becomes softer and/or changes pitch.
  • Weakness in the back legs; walking along then sitting down suddenly is a common early sign.
  • Vomiting, especially if it happens several times in a day and you see froth.

Later signs:

  • Wobbliness in the back legs.
  • Excessive salivation and vomiting is not uncommon.
  • Panting, progressing to loud breathing, even grunting noises.
  • Many dogs will exhibit a moist cough and breathing problems before other signs. (Particularly common in King Charles spaniels, schnauzers and other short-nosed dogs, this is a dangerous sign because it may lead to pneumonia.)

Worsening signs:

  • As signs of poisoning progress, the animals become unable to stand.
  • Breathing becomes exaggerated and difficult.
  • As breathing becomes more difficult, the gums become cold and blue-tinged. Death follows quite quickly.

The paralysis tick lifecycle

They may be small, but they're prolific. The female paralysis tick lays up to 3,000 eggs. After hatching, the larvae climb onto nearby vegetation and look for their first hosts. Normally, this would be a bandicoot or possum, which become immune to the poison. Once they have engorged the requisite amount of blood, the larvae drop to the ground, moult and turn into nymphs. Each nymph will then attach itself to a second host, do the blood-engorging thing again, hit the deck, moult to become an adult tick and find yet another host. After getting her fill of blood - often more than 100 times her own weight - the female paralysis tick is ready to abandon her final host and lay her eggs...to start the whole cycle all over again.


We recommend fortnightly doses of Frontline Plus. If you find a tick on your pet or suspect there is one you cannot find, come to the Vet immediately. Every minute counts.