Paralysis ticks are common in many parts of Sydney, especially near bushland and water. They cause paralysis of all the muscles and if untreated, pets die from respiratory failure. Treatment can be expensive and involves the administration of an intravenous antitoxin. Severely affected animals may need to be placed on a ventilator to be saved. Ticks are most prevalent from August through to April, but they can be found all year round, and all year round prevention is recommended.
Newer preventatives in recent years have greatly reduced the number of cases of tick poisoning that require treatment. They are safe, effective and very easy to administer.
We also recommend checking you pet for ticks every day. This is done by running your fingertips over the skin, feeling for lumps. Most ticks are found on the head, neck and ears but you must check the skin all over the dog.
Early treatment for tick poisoning is important. The sooner they are treated, the less likely they may be to have life threatening complications. If you suspect your pet may have tick poisoning (even if you have not found a tick) please seek immediate veterinary attention.
Signs of tick paralysis may include one or more of the following:
- Wobbly back legs
- Difficulty breathing
- Vomiting or retching
- Change of voice or bark
- Coughing or grunting sounds
- Weakness climbing stairs
- Reluctance to jump or even to walk