Paralysis Ticks Are Around

Rocky had a close encounter! This Robertson local entered our hospital with wobbly and weak back legs. The vet was checking Rocky over ensuring it wasn’t a spinal issue when our resident tick and flea finder, Monique, spotted a paralysis tick crater on the top of his head. He also had a weak gag reflex.

Paralysis ticks are potentially fatal to cats and dogs. The tick injects a toxin into the animal which circulates through the blood of the animal. The toxin affects the nervous system; causing motor neuron paralysis. This paralysis reduces their ability to swallow and can increase the likelihood of aspiration pneumonia. The weakness can also affect the muscles involved in breathing, which of course, makes this a life threatening situation. For brachycephalic breeds like little Rocky here, this can be even more serious. They tend to have a reduced ability to breath anyway due to the shape of their face. To treat Rocky, we carried out multiple tick searches, gave him an insecticidal rinse, administered tick serum, and monitored him closely.

While once only found along the eastern coast, paralysis ticks are becoming more prevalent in the Southern Highlands. They were once just found along the eastern edge of the Highlands up to Robertson, but in the last 3 years we have seen paralysis tick cases from Moss Vale, Mittagong, and the top of Mount Gibraltar.

Prevention is the best way to avoid an emergency trip to the vet. There are many products available in both the spot-on and chewable form. We stock Bravecto but can order your preferred tick treatment. If you are heading to the coast with your pet over the Christmas break, we recommend you administer a tick preventative product at least one day before your trip.

Even though these products are very good we still recommend a daily tick search while you are away. We’re sure they will love the extra attention!