Don't miss a tick

Sign up to our newsletter for all the latest pet related news both locally and Australia wide.

Don’t Miss a Tick This Summer……


There are 3 tick species of significance to our pets in Australia:

Ixodes holocyclus - Paralysis Tick

Rhipicephalus sanguineus - Brown Dog Tick

Haemaphysalis longicornis - Bush Tick


While the Brown Dog and Bush tick are relatively harmless, the Paralysis Tick can have deadly consequences for our pets. This tick is found on the East Coast of Australia, and generally is active through the spring and summer months, however this is variable depending on climatic conditions. There has already been tick activity this year.


The primary hosts are bandicoots, possums, macropods (kangaroos etc) and koalas.

Susceptible hosts include dogs, cats, humans, calves, sheep, foals, chickens and pigs

Ticks are mainly found on the head, neck, chest and forelegs on dogs.


The symptoms are caused by a potent toxin that is released through the saliva of the female tick and which is injected into the blood of the dog as the tick feeds. The toxin directly affects the nervous system, leading to a group of nervous symptoms in the affected animal.

The classical symptoms of tick paralysis are an inability to walk properly with the hind legs, however there are other less obvious symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Regurgitation
  • Unsteadiness
  • Fast heart rate and rhythm
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weakness, especially in the hind limbs
  • Partial loss of muscle movements (paresis)
  • Difficulty in eating
  • Disorder of voice (dysphonia)
  • Complete loss of muscle movement (paralysis), commonly seen in advanced disease state
  • Asphyxia due to respiratory muscle paralysis in severely affected animals

There is usually a history of recent travel to a tick area, but not always. The symptoms are gradual in nature and will likely progress unless the tick is found and removed, and tick anti serum is given.

If your dog is showing symptoms of tick paralysis you need to seek veterinary care immediately. If it is after hours, do not wait until morning.

The treatment and recovery is variable, and can range from removal of tick, administration of a preventative tick product and a pyrethrin bath (if there are no symptoms) to administration of tick antiserum, with hospitalisation and intensive care, in the worst cases a ventilator is needed to breathe for the animal. Paralysis ticks can be fatal!!

As always, prevention is much better than treatment, and there are quite a few products available.

Bravecto: chewable tablet, prevents fleas and ticks for 3 months

Nexguard: chewable tablet, prevents fleas and ticks for 1 month (Nexguard spectra also covers worms and heartworm for 1 month)

Advantix: topical spot on, prevents ticks for 2 weeks *TOXIC TO CATS

Seresto and Scalibor: collar, prevents ticks for 3 months


We also still recommend daily checks of your dog’s skin if you are travelling to an area that is endemic for ticks. If you’re not sure, we recommend to err on the side of caution and include tick prevention as part of your normal parasite control program.

If you have any questions, please contact the clinic and we will be happy to help.



Post your comment


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments

Recent Blogs

Preventative Dental Care

>> Read more

Raw Food Diets

>> Read more

Heat Stress

>> Read more