Paralysis ticks are the single most dangerous parasite for dogs, with just one tick capable of causing paralysis and even death!
In this post you’ll learn:
- Symptoms of tick paralysis
- How to identify a tick
- 4 methods to prevent tick poisoning
Ixodes holocyclus, commonly known as the Australian paralysis tick, can cause paralysis by injecting neurotoxins into its host. Ticks are most commonly found in bushy coastal areas and although they are most prevalent from spring to autumn, they may occur at any time of year.
Symptoms of Tick Poisoning
The paralysis tick causes paralysis in a variety of forms, but typically starts with weakness of the hindquarters and staggering gait, progressing to total paralysis of all four legs.
Other early symptoms include the appearance that the dog has something stuck in its throat (gurgling), vomiting or heavy, loud breathing and not being able to bark properly.
How to Identify a Tick
Paralysis ticks can be identified by their grey body and their legs around their head. Unlike other adult ticks, paralysis ticks have one pair of brown legs closest to their head, then two pairs of white legs and then one pair of brown legs closest to their body.
4 methods to prevent tick paralysis
Paralysis tick prevention is essential and you must take precautions if you live in a tick area or are travelling to the east coast on holidays. There are several options when it comes to paralysis tick prevention products and methods, each depends on your dogs age, size and lifestyle.
1. Daily Tick Searches
Search your dog thoroughly every day, especially around the head, ears and under the collar where ticks commonly attach. Don’t forget to check between the toes and under the tail. Clipping your dog’s coat short, especially during the tick season, makes performing tick searches much easier. It is recommended to use a tick preventative as well as daily tick searches.
If you find a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers or better still, a tick-removing device, which you can get from your vet or pet store. Try to gently lever the tick off, not to squeeze the tick’s body.
If you remove a tick after your dog has started showing some signs, you should seek veterinary attention. If your dog is paralysed, you must seek veterinary attention immediately.
2. Tick Collars
Tick collars can provide protection for up to 3 months but in tick paralysis areas, daily searching of the entire body is still recommended. Tick collars like Scalibor are safe to use in puppies as young as 8 weeks but don’t forget to remove the collar before washing or swimming.
3. Oral /Chewable
Oral chews are easy to administer offer up to 4 months paralysis tick prevention. Oral chews like Bravecto can also protect against flea infestations
4. Spot-on Products
Spot-on tick prevention products like Advantix and Frontline Plus both repels and kills paralysis ticks when applied every 14 days. The products are suitable to use with dogs that occasionally swim, but some spot-on products are toxic to cats so use with caution.
You can not be too careful when it comes to paralysis ticks. They can cause a lot of distress to your dog and treatment is difficult and expensive. Prevention is always the best cure.
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Be prepared and get peace of mind this tick season.