The paralysis tick is found on the east coast of Australia and generally become a problem in the warmer months of the year between August and March. Though they are more likely to attached themselves to your dog, they can also be a problem for cats. Outdoor domestic animals who interact with wildlife or have access to long grass or bushy areas are most at risk.

The danger of a paralysis tick is that once they attach themselves to your four-legged buddy is that they then release a toxin that over time targets the cardiac system, lungs, bladder etc effectively causing paralysis of these organs.  Symptoms to look for if your pet could be suffering from a paralysis tick:

Vomiting excessively – frothy vomit could also be a sign. If your pet is a little wobbly and unsteady on their legs, shows weakness especially in hind limbs.  Heavy panting for no obvious reasons or excessive drooling.  Change in bark or meow – if pitch or tone of bark or meow is altered in any significant way.  Paralysis and death. If poisoning continues unnoticed over time your pet’s gums will begin to turn blue and breathing will become difficult. Seek immediate medical attention should you see these symptoms.

Diagnosis of paralysis ticks is often made by observing the symptoms above and doing regular, systematic checks through your pet’s fur looking for unusual bumps and sores. Be sure to check folds in the neck and under the collar. Ticks also like more difficult places such as deep inside your pet’s ears, anus and between their toes. A flea comb is also useful in the search.

If you find one tick do not give up the search as you will more likely find more. There are numerous effective tick preventive medications available (sprays, washes and tablets) to reduce the threat of the paralysis tick. See your local pet store or veterinarian should you need advice.

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