Understanding Tick Paralysis in Pets

Understanding Tick Paralysis in Pets

They are over 800 species of ticks around the world. However, one of the most dangerous ticks to be found in Australia is the Paralysis Tick. It’s scientifically known as Ixodes Holocyclusis and poses a major threat to your pets and humans alike. It is often found on wild animals in Australia such as our famous kangaroos. Symptoms of paralysis from this type of tick can be life-threatening, so it is vital that you stay vigilant.

Where Are Paralysis Ticks Found?

Paralysis ticks are known to be found throughout Australia, mainly along the coastal areas on the East side, stretching along the Great Dividing Range. Paralysis ticks are a common pest that has been around for hundreds of years. According to Queensland Government Health, the ideal location for paralysis ticks are moist, humid coastal areas that have long grass and bushlands.

What Do Paralysis Ticks Look Like?

Paralysis ticks are reddish-brown and about 1mm in length. Their dark brown bodies are flat and circle their heads. They have two bumps on the front of their head that stick out giving off a familiar impression to humans: the “dog tick”. Their heads do not point forward, so they are not easy to see from underneath or behind the animal they are attached to. This makes them hard to spot if you just happen to come across one while you’re out for a walk in the park.

How do I search my pet?

This tick is found mainly around the ears, or at least on the back of your pet. If you don’t spot the tick on your pet’s ear immediately, then you will see a small hole where they originally attached themselves. The best place to check is behind your pet’s ears. Because the paralysis tick is small, you may need to use a flashlight to spot it.

Unfortunately, not all ticks have ticks that are easily recognizable. Most of the time, pet owners don’t even notice when a tick has attached itself to their dog or cat. For the most part, ticks can attach themselves in less than 10 minutes. It’s important that you check your pet thoroughly before letting them outside for playtime. Before letting your dog back inside, after a run in the park, be sure to check under them thoroughly, it may just save your dog’s life.

If you find yourself with a paralysis tick on your pet, it should be removed immediately.

Your local veterinarian can show you the safest way to remove a tick.

Remember to consider the following

  • Wear disposable glove, avoid touching the tick
  • Have a container with alcohol inside to kill it
  • Remove the tick by gently pinching it and plucking it off.
    • You can also use tweezers or a tick remover to do this.
  • If you found 1 tick, look for more, they are times more often than not, when they are more than just one tick.

If you think that the tick is already embedded, then do not pull or twist on it with too much force as this can cause the tick to break off inside your pet. Infection is possible if the tick breaks off inside your pet and the body fluid enters the bloodstream.

How Can You Prevent A Paralysis Ticks?

You can take precautions against paralysis ticks by taking care of your pet’s health hygienically. Whether you own a dog or cat or another furry pet, you should be checking daily for ticks or craters on your pet. If you own a dog, consider bathe your dog regularly, especially during summer months, to prevent ticks from attaching themselves on your dog. Also, while walking your dog, never let your dog run in areas that have a lot of vegetation as it is very likely that this will host ticks.

What are the symptoms of tick paralysis in Pets?

Paralysis ticks can cause your pets to have one or more of these symptoms

  • Weak in the hind legs especially at the bottom of the hind legs
  • Stiff, wobbly gait with poor back clearance – more noticeable on hard surfaces like tarmac than loose dirt.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • A change in the sound of a bark or meow, or even the voice
  • Tremors in the front legs especially at the elbows and knees
  • Affected dogs may sit down when going from a standstill to a run or chase.
  • Affected dogs may loose-lipped and floppy-jawed

What should I do if your pet shows symptoms or if there is a crater or a tick ?

It is very important to see a veterinarian immediately if your pet has been bitten by a tick. Tick bites can cause serious illness in pets and even death if the tick is not removed correctly within 24–48 hours. Tick paralysis is an illness caused by ticks that can result in permanent damage or even death, even if the ticks are removed quickly.

If you find yourself with a paralysis tick in your home, it’s best to take care of it right away or see a vet right away.


There are many dangers to pets that are bit by ticks. Although it is very important to be aware of the signs of tick toxicity, especially the paralysis tick, protect your pet by taking good care of them. Make sure they don’t run in areas where there is a possibility of ticks. Once you believe your pet is hosting these nasty parasites, be sure to remove it right away either yourself or seek medical assistance.

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