How do I find a paralysis tick on my dog or cat?
Paralysis ticks can be extremely difficult to find, even in animals with short coats.
At Sydney Animal Hospitals, we recommend:
- Gently feeling your animal’s skin, going against the grain of the fur.
- Looking inside the lips, nasal cavity, ears, the corners of the eyes, between the toes and under the arms, legs and tail.
- If you find a tick, don’t stop searching. Often animals have more than one tick on them.
Although ticks can be found anywhere on your pets body, they are most commonly found on the head or around the neck so it’s important to pay special attention to these areas when performing your tick search.
We recommend a pre-summer tick clip for your pet.This will ensure that through the critical warm months when your pet is most at risk, it will be much easier to perform a tick check on your pet, reducing the risk that a tick will go unnoticed.
How do I remove a tick from my dog or cat?
Ticks burrow into the skin and can be difficult to remove. Here's how to remove a tick:
- Avoid squeezing the body of the tick as you remove it – this will inject more toxin into your pet.
- We use a tick hook, which slides under the tick and allows the tick to be removed in full.
- Do not apply any chemicals (apart from registered tick treatments for animals) to your pet as this may well be toxic to your pet as well as the tick.
Your veterinarian can remove ticks for you, but this needs to be done as a matter of urgency (do not wait all day or overnight).
If you find a tick on your pet contact your vet immediately
The toxin produced by paralysis ticks is very potent. Even when the tick is removed, most animals get worse before they get better – this is because the toxin already in the animal’s body continues to circulate and attach to nerves for a period of time.
It is important to seek veterinary attention to determine whether your pet needs tick anti-toxin. Until then, there are some important steps you can take to reduce the risk of complications:
- Keep your pet calm, quiet and cool. Excitement, exercise and overheating can exacerbate illness associated with tick paralysis.
- Remove food and water. Your pet’s ability to swallow may be compromised, putting your pet at risk of aspiration pneumonia.
- Search for other ticks on your pet.