What does a paralysis tick look like?

 They tend to be light blue to grey in colour, ranging in size from two or three millimetres to as large as 10 millimetres. But even the smallest can cause paralysis. These ticks tend to attach themselves securely to the skin, they can be difficult to remove. When they are pulled out, they usually leave a noticeable crater in the animal’s skin which can last for several weeks.

How can you find a tick on your pet?

 Although most ticks are found around the head and neck of the animal as well as inside the ears, they can end up anywhere on the body. It is especially important to search longhaired dogs very thoroughly between the eyes and the end of the nose. The most reliable way to locate the ticks is to systematically run your fingers through your cat or dog’s coat.

Ticks - Alma St Vet Hospital

The signs of tick poisoning

The paralysis tick injects a toxin into its host dog or cat as it feeds. Normally, cats show more resistance to this poison than dogs, but if affected the signs are similar for both. Increased body temperature due to either hot weather or exercise will exacerbate symptoms.

If left to run its course, a case of tick poisoning goes through three stages.

Early signs:

  • A change in voice; the meow or bark becomes softer and/or changes pitch.
  • Weakness in the back legs; walking along then sitting down suddenly is a common early sign.
  • Vomiting, especially if it happens several times in a day and you see froth.

Later signs:

  • Wobbliness in the back legs.
  • Excessive salivation and vomiting is not uncommon.
  • Panting, progressing to loud breathing, even grunting noises.
  • Many dogs will exhibit a moist cough and breathing problems before other signs.

Worsening signs:

  • As signs of poisoning progress, the animals become unable to stand.
  • Breathing becomes exaggerated and difficult.
  • As breathing becomes more difficult, the gums become cold and blue-tinged. Death follows quite quickly.

The residual effect

Even when you find a tick and remove it, your pet isn’t out of the woods. There’s a very good chance the tick could have left a residue of poison under the skin which will then be slowly absorbed. You should keep an eye on him or her for the next two to four days, keeping it cool and calm while avoiding excitement and exercise. Also, do not offer your pet either food or water because its ability to swallow may be impaired. If at any point the signs worsen, call us straightaway on 49228138.


While new, improved products are appearing quite regularly, you should still search you pet(s) every night during the tick season.


NexGard® This  beef-flavoured chewable provides excellent monthly control of both ticks and fleas. Iis safe from eight weeks of age (over 1.8kg) and kills ticks and fleas within hours of ingesting your dog’s blood.

Bravecto. Treatment and control of paralysis tick for 4 months. Treatment and control of brown dog tick for 8 weeks. Treatment and prevention of flea infestations for 3 months. Rapid onset of action kills newly emerged adult fleas before they lad eggs. Reduces incidence of flea allergy dermatitis but controlling fleas. Highly palatable so easy to administer. Can be used from 8 weeks of age and over 2kg.

Seresto collars. Treats and prevents flea infestations for up to 8 months and ticks for up to 4 months. Kills larval flea stages. Treatment and control of flea allergy dermatitis. Controls paralysis tick and bush tick. Kills brown dog tick. Treats lice.

Advantix® Advantix will kill both fleas and ticks when applied every two weeks. As well, it may repel ticks. Advantix is toxic for cats.

Frontline® Plus When you apply this preventative onto the skin between the shoulder blades, it spreads over your dog’s entire body, killing ticks on contact. It must be applied every two weeks. Frontline Plus is not an effective preventative for larval- and nymph-stage ticks.

Frontline Spray® is effective against ticks, but must be applied regularly.


Fido’s Free-Itch Rinse Concentrate® It kills ticks on contact and prevents further attachment for up to three days.

Frontline Spray® This insecticide is effective for cats when sprayed every three weeks. Registered for tick prevention in cats, it is safe to use from just two days of age.

Frontline Top Spot® This product is not actually registered for tick protection in cats, but it is used by a lot of clients and we believe it gives reasonable protection if used every two weeks.

Seresto Collars. This product is not actually registered for tick prevention in cats, but believe it gives reasonable protection for up to 4 months. Treats and prevents flea infestation for up to 8 months. Treatment and control of flea allergy dermatitis. Kills larval flea stages.

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