Is Your Pet Suddenly Unwell? It Might Be Tick Paralysis
Tick Paralysis

Is Your Pet Suddenly Unwell? It Might Be Tick Paralysis

By Sam Weeks | May 25, 2021

What are ticks?

Ticks are a parasite that attacks dogs and cats (and humans) that secrete a poison into the bitten area. If left untreated it can lead to respiratory failure. There are several different types of ticks but all of them have similar effects in terms of symptoms. If you live in metropolitan areas there is less risk of tick bites, however, if you take your dog on a hike or go camping in bushland you will need to thoroughly check your pet after to ensure no ticks are present. If you live in a semi-rural, or rural area you will need to regularly check for ticks. Also, hot and humid weather can increase the likelihood of a tick bite. Even your dog running through long grass can increase the likelihood of your pet being exposed to ticks. Ticks typically attach around the head, neck, chest and shoulders. However, they can attach in other areas so a full body check is recommended. All our mobile vets in Melbourne are experienced in treating tick bites and can come to your home for an at home consultation.


This can happen in just one or two legs in your pet or it can progress to full body paralysis where the sufferer cannot move at all. The most common cause is called tick paralysis. This is due to a toxin that is released from a tick that attacks the CNS or central nervous system. Warning signs of tick paralysis that present in your pet as dogs are: change or loss of voice, change in breathing, gagging or coughing, vomiting, loss of leg function and dilated pupils. It’s usually 3-5 days after the tick has attacked that the severe symptoms show themselves. You may not find the offending tick but you may find a deep wound where a tick has previously made a home. Detaching the parasite may not be enough to prevent paralysis so you need to be on the lookout for any of the previously mentioned symptoms. Immediate vet attention is recommended and at home, vet service is the most convenient option. As your pet’s Veterinary service, we will give you further instructions on what to do after your consultation to keep your pet healthy.


Thankfully there are preventative treatments that can help your pets. There are many on the market these days and can even be given monthly and can be administered easily to your pet with little fuss.  If your pet has any broken skin or other injuries due to the tick bite it would be advisable to have a vet attend to the wounds. When administering the tick treatment make sure that you give the correct treatment. If you have a dog make sure you give a tick medication for dogs only. If you give a dog tick treatment for a cat or vice versa it can potentially be fatal. If you are unsure, check with us, your local vet service for buying the correct treatment.

Here at Vets on Call, we love looking after all your furry friends’ health needs from the comfort of your home. So whether you are looking for a vet clinic in Richmond, Brunswick, Bundoora or just looking for “vets near me”, give us a call, download our app or visit our website to book a vet online.

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