The paralysis tick produces a toxin in its saliva which is passed on to the host animal when the tick feeds.
This toxin affects the dog’s nervous system, leading very quickly to severe impairment or death.
Tick Paralysis is one of the most common preventable causes of death in dogs and cats. Over 10,000 dogs are affected each year. Sadly without treatment nearly 100% will die. Treatment is costly with severe cases costing over $5000. Many Pet insurance companies will not assist with medical costs as it is a preventable disease. The answer is simple, it is essential that all pets in tick areas are protected with a preventative product.
Tick season is between August and March however tick paralysis cases are often reported outside these times so pets living in tick areas should be on tick prevention year round, especially in the warmer climates.
If you are living or holidaying on the east coast of Australia Tick Paralysis is something you need to worry about. Whether you live in the bush or suburbia you are not safe from ticks. Our Native animals are a host for ticks. Our wildlife are basically not affected by the ticks paralysis so if you have blue tongues, birds, possums, bandicoots, wallabies or kangaroos living nearby, you probably also have ticks about.
We have 4 types of ticks in Australia with the Paralysis tick being the most dangerous.
Identifying the difference between these ticks can be tricky as they will change colour as they feed. A tick does not have to be at full size to cause paralysis.
Signs Of Tick Paralysis
• A change in voice; the bark or meow may sound different
• Weakness in the back legs
• Loss of appetite (this does not happen in all cases)
• 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
Checking for Paralysis ticks daily is important as no product can guarantee 100% protection. 70% of ticks are found on the front half of the pet A thorough tick search involves working your fingers deep into your dog’s coat to check all parts of their skin, including skin folds and even in their ears. Ticks can be really hard to find and even if you can not find a tick but your pet is presenting any of the above symptoms you must take your pet immediately to the vet. If you find a tick, don’t stop searching as isn’t uncommon to have 2-3 ticks.