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Does My Pet Have Ticks? Signs That Your Pet Is Suffering From Tick Paralysis

By John Morgan | Dated September 28, 2020

What are the signs?

Ticks in our area cause more than just irritation and discomfort for our furry friends – the problem can quickly become very dangerous. Typically taking between 3-4 days to show, the symptoms of paralysis tick neurotoxin poisoning vary between different animals and begin mildly but will progress over time and can ultimately lead to death.

paralysis tick treatment for dogs

 

If your pet is showing one or more of the following symptoms, make sure to seek treatment immediately.

1. Eating difficulties

Tick paralysis usually causes a paralysis of the larynx and oesophagus, and causes pets to lose the ability to swallow food and water which can very quickly cause extreme dehydration and weakness. If you have noticed your animal refusing to eat, vomiting or regurgitating food it may be an early sign of tick paralysis.

2. Voice change

Paralysis of the throat is also usually evident in a change in the animal’s “voice”. If your pet’s barks or meows have become hoarse, strained or even just a different pitch, they may be suffering from the effects of a paralysis tick. 

3. Limb weakness

Pets suffering from paralysis tick will gradually experience partial loss of muscle movement, and if not treated immediately, may eventually lose all muscle movement. In cats and dogs, this paralysis and weakness is particularly prevalent in the hind limbs.

4. Lack of coordination

Along with weakness, you may notice your pet moving and behaving strangely. Due to the paralysis tick’s impact on the muscles and nerves, many animals’ reflexes become poor and they can lose coordination and balance.

5. Breathing Problems

For pets suffering from tick paralysis, respiratory muscle paralysis and complications such as aspiration pneumonia reduce their ability to breath effectively. Keep an eye out for slow, laboured breathing, coughing and panting as they may be indicative of a more serious issue with your pet’s health.

6. Life Threatening Paralysis

If your pet goes untreated for too long, the neurotoxin can cause paralysis of the heart muscles. This results in shock and can lead to death. Make sure you keep a close eye on your furry friends and seek help as soon as you start to see the above key symptoms to ensure that your pet gets better as soon as possible.
 

Is your pet at risk?

Although ticks affect pets all around the world, here in Australia our animals are exposed to the dangerous paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus), and unfortunately these critters are often found crawling about very close to home.

The paralysis tick is usually hosted by possums and bandicoots, which puts areas of bush and native wildlife along Australia’s humid east coast at high risk, especially between August and February. If you and your pet enjoy walks through the national parks and bushland of Sydney’s North Shore and even in the grasses of your own backyard, it is important to be aware that ticks can crawl, drop and grab on to your animal with ease.

 

Prevention and protection

Prevention of tick paralysis has been improved by extremely effective medication that kills ticks within hours of attaching. We stock many different products that help reduce your pet’s risk of getting tick paralysis so make sure you get in touch or ask us next time you are in!

Being aware of the high risk areas and seasons and regularly checking your pets are vital steps to preventing your beloved furry friend from suffering tick paralysis, although given the high risk of many residential areas, the time may come when you notice a tick that needs to be removed. The tick’s long mouthparts can make removal a tricky process so if you haven’t had experience make sure you call Gordon Vet Hospital and we can help you out!

paralysis tick prevention for dogs

It is, however, possible to remove a tick at home using tweezers or the specially designed Tick Twister, both of which can be used to break the tick free from as close to the skin as possible. This prevents any further toxins from being released or the tick from burrowing any further. After removal, the area should be cleaned with antiseptic such as betidine (not Dettol(R)) and the pet should be rested and given reduced amounts of food and water.

Even after a tick is removed, symptoms may start to manifest, so watch your pet carefully and seek a paralysis tick treatment as soon as you notice those symptoms progressing.
 

Treatment

Recovery from a tick bite can be a long and unpredictable process and usually includes the administration of an antitoxin, the provision of intravenous fluids and careful monitoring of food and water intake. More severe symptoms may require radiographs, intravenous antibiotics, blood gas analysis, intubation, and ventilation. The sooner your pet receives treatment, the faster and less painful the recovery process will be so do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help.
 

Callout : Call Gordon Vet Hospital today for expert care

Here at Gordon Vet Hospital, we treat tick paralysis with care and experience. Upon receiving your call, we make sure that your pet is treated as a priority, receives any emergency care necessary and is treated with care and kindness throughout the entire process.

Call us on (02) 9498 3000 to find out more or book a session with our friendly professionals. And remember, our pet ambulance is always on call if you need extra transport or immediate help.

Written by John Morgan

John first started with Gordon Vet Hospital back in 2004 as a weekend Nurse while studying Veterinary Science. When he graduated he worked in Goulburn for a few years before spending 2 years doing locum work through Canada. John returned to Australia in 2013 and came back to Gordon Vet Hospital. John completed his postgraduate studies in Small Animal Practice in 2013 and in 2015 gained Membership to the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery.

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The Vets are fantastic and so are the support staff. My dogs have been with Gorden Vets for over 10 years.
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Helen was great. Took great care of our dog.
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I took our little girl Coco for her very first vet visit yesterday. Dr Helen gave Coco a thoroughly check-up and provided me with useful information as the first time puppy owner. Coco is now enrolled in the puppy school and will return back for her 2nd vaccine in a couple of week!
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Care & attention for your furry friends second to none.
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Dr David and the team have provided real care, support and expertise for our furry family members over 25 years. They've also readily taken in injured wildlife. A great team of Vets and nurses - thanks for all you do!
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Quality care and advice at every visit. The staff are friendly and informative and genuinely care about your pets. I am 100% confident that my cat and dog always receive the best pet healthcare and as pet parents that's all we want.
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Marianne Broeng
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Gordon Vet has looked after my golden retriever since she was 9 weeks. Everyone has been amazing and caring with lots of experience. I have been able to ask any questions and always been welcome. Even one day when she stepped on a bee in the evening, they stayed open until we got there and helped her get it out. Thanks to all the staff :-)
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Lizzie Wei
00:56 18 Jan 20
We just moved to Gordon couple month ago and need to get my cat vaccinated. We found this hospital through google and I need to say they provide excellent service and very professional! The doctor really knows cat. Highly recommended!
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08:15 27 Nov 19
Exceptional veterinary hospital. I have been taking my dog here for many years and although I now live in the Eastern Suburbs, I still drive across town to see the Vets at Gordon. The staff are highly skilled, compassionate, friendly and helpful. My 9 year old dog has had 2 knee operations (1 on each knee!) and the outcome of these surgeries far exceeded my expectations. I have been incredibly impressed with the care provided during all of our visits. I would highly recommend Gordon Vet Hospital.
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Very friendly staff. Wonderful care for all our animals A++
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Fantastic and friendly staff who you can tell really care about your pet. Their follow up service is also very reassuring. I also board my cat with Gordon Vet and I feel very comfortable to know he's in safe and caring hands. I'm so glad I found this clinic.
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We took our dog there and Dr. David take care of his skin issues. he was so caring and professional.
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Compassionate, caring and highly skilled veterinary surgeons who treat their patients and owners with respect. The nursing and administration staff are efficient and remember their patients by name which is a lovely touch. A lovely vet practice which despite our Golden Retriever Finn’s complex medical history, is always welcoming to him and he never displays any signs of anxiety when attending. Dr Helen is lovely and a firm favourite of ours!
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Highly recommend Dr David, Scott, Helen, and Catherine, I've taken my cat to see all the doctors here.
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We found a stray, agitated dog in front of our house last night. We phoned but got no help from the Council ranger who gave two options: tie him up in front yard overnight or "let him loose, he'll find his own way home" :( So we phoned Gordon Vet: they stayed open a few minutes so we could run him up and he could have a bed and dinner. Thank you Gordon Vet Hospital, hope he gets home soon!!! :)
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01:52 04 Sep 18
Really amazing staff members. Their systems and processes are also very
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Good competant vet. Did what I needed. Staff friendly. Cat's well.
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03:20 15 Feb 18
Absolutely love the service here. I switched from other Vets to this Vet as the staff here are quite attentive and really care about your furry baby! I have basically seen most of the Dr's here and all of them so far have been fantastic, friendly and fun to speak with! Easy to locate and enough parking available! 5 Stars indeed!
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