Oz: In spring ticks emerge from their winter dormancy

Tick paralysis comes with the spring when ticks come out for blood.

The spring has barely sprung and already I’ve been noticing its impact and treating pets with medical conditions that are typical to this time of the year. The weather is warming up, and all sorts of creatures that remain dormant in the winter reappear. Amongst those creatures, there are the ticks. Probably THE most dramatic type of case יחיד that I get to deal with in this season is related to ticks and is called Tick Paralysis.

Whoever got to experience this with their pet, will never forget the event. It is very dramatic. Typically the animal seems completely normal, (the owners usually don’t notice minor early changes in the animal) and suddenly appears severely weak or even completely paralyzed.

The disease is caused by a toxin that affects the animal nerve system. The toxin is found in the tick’s salivary gland and transmitted to the animal bloodstream once the ticks bite the animal in order to feed off it. The toxin causes symptoms within 2–7 days after been introduced into the animal’s body.

The very early signs may include change or loss of voice, vomiting, dilatation of the eye’s pupils,

The process starts gradually by first affecting the back legs, causing weakness and incoordination, which shortly turns into complete paralysis. Eventually the animal becomes unable to move it’s back legs and front legs, stand, sit, or lift it’s head. The paralysis affects also the respiratory system, which leads to laboured breathing and eventually if not treated, respiratory failure and death even within hours.

The only diagnosis approach for this condition is the clinical presentation and finding a tick on the animal, and obviously the lack of any other findings in any testיחיד  results done.

The treatment of tick paralysis consists of removing the tick from the animal’s body. Finding a tick on some patients, especially the large and super hairy dogs, can be very challenging, so often the tick can not be found.  Removal of all ticks usually results in obvious improvement within 24 hours. Failure to recover indicates that at least one tick may be still be attached, or that the diagnosis should be reviewed.

In order to ensure the tick’s removal from the body, I always apply a tick control product. Often, I find that the definite diagnosis to my patient’s condition and my suspicions, is simply their recovery after the application of the tick control product.

Fortunately this condition is very easy to avoid by using a broad spectrum of tick control products. The best suitable product should be fitted to the specific animal by a veterinarian, depending on the animal’s health condition and the owners lifestyle (for example: Tendency to walk in the bush or camping increases the animal’s exposure to ticks.) It is important to choose a safe product, that is designed to the specific type of animal and that is compatible with other medications or preventative products that the animal may receive.

Consult your veterinarian about the best suited preventative products available for the seasonal hazards in order to protect your furry friend’s well being.


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