Talking about ticks may make one cringe, but because it poses such a major threat to humans and their pets – you need to learn exactly what it is and how to prevent it. Here’s a list of answers you need to the most common questions about tick paralysis.

What is tick paralysis?

Tick paralysis occurs when a human or an animal is bitten by a certain species of a female tick. A potent toxin is released through the saliva and injected in the blood, which causes humans and pets to feel ill.


What are the causes of tick paralysis?

It only takes one tick to latch on to the skin and feed on yours or your pet's blood. There can be one to an abundance of ticks. Sadly, other animals can be carriers, too.


Where are ticks found?

Ticks are commonly found outdoors sch as gardens and other grassy areas, woodlands, hiking trails and the like. It only takes one tick bite!


What’s the best way to check my dog for ticks?

Thoroughly look through your pet's skin and coat from head to tail. This means checking every fold and corner, especially his head, neck, feet and ears. Also, have a feel around for any bumps and lumps because ticks are very good at hiding.


What are the symptoms and early signs of tick paralysis in dogs and cats, as well as humans?

Catch tick paralysis at an early stage. Symptom are similar in pets and humans, and manifest 2-7 days after the tick latches on the skin.


  • Dilated pupils
  • Change or loss of voice
  • Vomiting
  • Gagging or coughing
  • Difficulty eating
  • Enlargement of the esophagus (megaesophagus)
  • Unsteadiness
  • Lack of coordination of the hind legs
  • Change in breathing rate and effort
  • High blood pressure
  • Partial loss of muscle movements (paresis)
  • Complete loss of muscle movement (paralysis)
  • Poor reflexes to complete loss of reflex
  • Low muscle tone (hypotonia)


Tick paralysis affects pets in an ascending motion. Thus, the rear limbs are usually first to be affected then it may progress to paralysis. If you observe any of this, bring your pet to the veterinarian immediately.


How does one diagnose tick paralysis?

In order to find out the type of tick or its species, send a sample (at least one tick) to the laboratory.

To further evaluate the current state of your pet, your veterinarian might require the following tests: blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis.


What do I do when you find a tick on your pet?

If there is a tick, use tweezers, forceps or a topical insecticide to kill the ticks. Don’t prick, burn or do anything extreme, no matter what. Instead, place the tick in a container and send it to your vet for an assessment to determine the right course of action.

However, if you even suspect ticks on your pets, an insecticidal bath is still recommended to ensure that he’s in the clear to kill anything you might have missed.


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Check your head, hair, neck and the rest of your body for any ticks. If there are any, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.


Can I feed my pet to help him regain his strength?

No. Do not give your pet any food or water, and do not let him engage in any form of exercise for the meantime. Keep him in a cool and calm environment, with no stressors around.


My pet seems to have a hard time breathing, what should I do?

Your pet could be suffering from dehydration or respiratory paralysis. Take him to the veterinarian immediately. Treatment can range from oxygen, ventilation or intravenous to counter the toxins and to relax the muscles.  


Is tick paralysis curable?

Yes, it is. The removal of ticks will allow your pet to regain his muscle strength, but don’t expect this to happen right away. Be wary that your pet may be weak after removing the tick, which can last up to 24 hours. If you’re unsure about what is happening, make a call to your veterinarian.


How can I prevent tick paralysis?

  • Routine checks for ticks daily
  • Keep hair short
  • Wear an anti-tick collar
  • Regularly spray your home (indoor and outdoor) tick spray
  • Keep lawns mowed short and bushes trimmed.
  • Prevent common carriers of ticks (eg. mice)
  • Clean up debris and bushes
  • Don’t leave food unattended
  • Secure garbage bins


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