top of page


Is a veterinary examination necessary?

Veterinary examination is necessary if the answer is yes to either of questions 1 or 2 below. A yes answer to questions 3 or 4 increases the suspicion of tick paralysis.

1. Does the dog/cat show one or more of the signs of tick paralysis?

  • Weakness in hind limbs - unable to stand, collapsing, wobbly gait, reluctance to climb stairs, jump in car

  • Abnormal respiration - grunting, laboured, abnormal vocalisation, coughing, slow breathing

  • Dilated pupils

  • Salivation, vomiting/retching, licking Hyperactivity

2. Has a tick (or ticks) been found?

  • Paralysis tick - size from < 1mm to > 5mm body length; black to grey; fat; strongly attached to the skin; hard bodied

  • Cattle tick (northern Australia)

  • Bush tick (coastal NSW)

  • Brown dog tick (northern Australia)

  • Poultry tick - soft bodied

Note: Differentiation of paralysis, cattle and bush ticks can be difficult and requires microscopic examination of the whole tick to be certain of species differences. If in doubt, assume a paralysis tick until proven otherwise.


3. Has the dog/cat been in contact with known tick habitat in the last 7 days?

  • Coastal scrub

  • Backyard overgrowth

  • Bushwalking

  • Farm visits

4. Has the pet had tick paralysis before?

Is tick paralysis an emergency?

On average, animals die within 24 hours of developing paralysis without treatment

Tick serum takes 12 hours to work

Animals with respiratory signs have the poorest prognosis

bottom of page