Ticks and your pet: What you need to know

It’s that time of the year again. Paralysis ticks are about in great numbers.
So lets talk about paralysis ticks, what are they? and what are the signs to look out for?

Early detection will improve your chances of a happy outcome. Pet owners need to be vigilant!

What is a tick?

Ticks are  small (around 3 – 5 mm long) members of the arachnid family (8 legs). There are many species of tick but the one of most concern is the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus).
The paralysis tick can be found along the Eastern Coast of Australia. They can be found from as far as North Queensland to Victoria.
Other common types of ticks you may find on your pet are bush ticks or brown dog ticks.

Source: Virbac

The prevalence of ticks increases during ‘tick season’ – October to March. But here in Brisbane we see them all year round.
Ticks will attach themselves to our native animals like possums and bandicoots, so if you live in bushland areas with wildlife, chances are, ticks will be prevalent.
This also means ticks can be found in our very own backyard! Ticks can take a ride on the backs of wildlife and drop into your yard. Wildlife aren’t usually affected by ticks but they can kill our pet dogs and cats.

Keeping your gardens trimmed back, lawns mowed can help reduce ticks in the backyard. ✔️

Photo by KaLisa Veer

What are the signs that my pet might have a tick?

Symptoms can take up to 48-72 hours to present after initial attachment.
Early signs include:
– Change in voice/ bark
– Abnormal breathing (e.g. pant or labored breathing)
– Coughing or Vomiting
– Unable to jump onto chair or into car

Later signs include:
– Loss of appetite
– Abnormal stance or walk (wobbly in the back legs) progressing to unable to stand or walk
– Excessive salivation
– Unresponsive

What should I do if my pet has a tick?

Remove it straight away. You can use tweezers or tick twisters to remove the tick.
Keep your pet as calm as possible (stress can worsen the toxin effect). Do not attempt to give food or water until checked by a vet.
If you are finding it hard to remove the tick, your pet is displaying any paralysis symptoms, or your pet hasn’t been on any tick preventatives,
please call one of our vets clinics:
Arana Hills Vet Clinic: 3851 1366
Fernlands Vet Practice: 3351 0500
Everton Hills Vet Surgery: 3355 6724


How can I prevent my pet getting a tick?

Use a tick or flea treatment to protect your pet from the risk of ticks.
In our clinics we sell a range of products for both CATS and dogs.
– Products available such as Bravecto chews and spot-ons, Nexgard monthly chews, Seresto tick collars and shampoos and rinses that prevent ticks.
– Keeping your dogs and cats coat shorter during summer will help when doing daily tick checks.
When checking, feel for small lumps and make sure you look in hidden places such as under the collar, between toes, their paws, gumline and inside their ears.
Also feel for any tick craters (a characteristic skin swelling with a central crater or scab where the tick has become detached).

Photo by Veronika Homchis