MAY – Ginger, Autumn Paralysis Tick

 ‘But there aren’t any paralysis ticks in this area, are there?!’



Yes, this area was once regarded as a ‘paralysis tick free zone’…. But times have changed and the ticks have well and truly crept their way into our region. We regularly see tick cases from MANY areas around Stanthorpe. We have treated cases from Applethorpe, Cottonvale, Dalveen, Amiens, Sugarloaf, Ballandean, Liston and Ruby Creek.

Another common misperception is that paralysis ticks are only out and about in Spring and Summer… this is also untrue!

Ginger presented to us in late May around the same time as the first frost! His owner went to feed him and discovered that he was completely unable to use his back legs.

When he got to the clinic, we suspected tick paralysis before he even got out of his cage. How?…. he had an extremely abnormal ‘meow’ – it was very harsh, like he was losing his voice!

A large paralysis tick was removed from Ginger’s neck. He could not stand at all on his back legs and was struggling to breathe. Fortunately for Ginger, his ‘respiratory score’ was on the lower end, despite his ‘mobility score’ being a 4 out of 4.


Above – Poor little Ginger, looking mighty sad on arrival as he was receiving his Anti-Serum.


Ginger underwent prompt and full treatment for tick paralysis. He was receiving vital Tick Antiserum within 15 minutes after admission and was under close observation in our Intensive Care Unit.

He was lucky in that he had a normal gag reflex (unlike most cases of tick paralysis). That means he was ok to eat and drink whilst undergoing treatment.
Ginger’s condition improved greatly following his treatment and he was able to go home 2 days after being admitted. He then boarded with us for a few more days at his owner’s request – which meant he got to have many more cuddles with the girls here!


Above – Ready to go home and getting super smoochy!


Signs of tick paralysis include weakness in the back legs, excessive drooling, vomiting/regurgitation, reluctance to move, a changed meow or bark and increased respiratory rate and effort.

It is important to remember that every case of tick paralysis is potentially fatal, especially if untreated.

  • If you find a tick and remove it, please keep it to show us so that we can identify its species.
  • Removal is easy – simply pull the tick out of your pet by grasping it as close to the head as possible.
  • If you are concerned about removal, give us a call and come in so that one of our nurses can help you.

The great thing is, it is completely preventable! There are many great products available for dogs, and although the market isn’t as strong for cats, there are collars and sprays that can protect cats from ticks.

Flea prevention alone and flea collars DO NOT prevent ticks!

If your pets aren’t protected against paralysis ticks, ask us how!