Paralysis Ticks (Ixodes holocyclus) are one of the most dangerous threats to your nature-loving pooch.  These tiny creatures suck the blood from the host animal and their salivary glands produce a toxin that attacks the nervous system, eventually causing paralysis and death if left untreated.  

Spotting the signs

A typical case of tick poisoning will start with weakness in your dog’s back legs and spread to the forelegs.  Watch out for these symptoms too:

  • Lethargy
  • Unsteadiness on the feet
  • Change in your dog’s bark
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting or dry retching
  • Excessive salivation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing
  • Noisy panting
  • Inability to blink

Prevention and cure

There are plenty of Paralysis Tick prevention products available* in the We are Pets Shop, but none provide 100% protection, so it’s important to keep alert for any signs of poisoning and to do a physical check daily.  Keeping your dog’s hair short will help you with these daily checks.

Start with their head and use your hands as well as your eyes, looking inside the ears, under the chin and around the throat. Move down the front legs and check in between the toes.  Feel along the body, under the belly, then the back legs and toes. Inspect the genital region and finish off along the tail.

Dr Lisa says…

If your dog has a tick, take them to your vet IMMEDIATELY for treatment.  Your vet or vet nurse will remove the tick. Affected animals only have a short window of time to receive an anti-tick serum, and can still deteriorate up to 48 hours after the initial treatment.  


Dr Jo says…

  • Never, ever use a dog tick product on your cat. It can be fatal.


  1. Timo

    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.


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