Tick Paralysis in Dogs and Cats

Common info

Ticks act as carriers of various diseases in animals. One of them is tick paralysis, which caused its saliva. While biting, tick’s potent toxin will release through its saliva into the dog’s blood. The toxin directly affects the nervous system, leading to a group of nervous symptoms in the affected dog. The disease commonly found in dogs rather than cats.


Tick Paralysis a result of tick’s bite which can cause severe effects on pet’s nervous and respiratory systems. 


Upon being bitten, dogs will receive the toxin released through tick’s saliva into the blood such toxins will then interact with the lower motor neuron that connects with the spinal cord and muscles, making the muscles stay in an apparent state of relaxation, disabling the control of body movement. Paralysis symptom normally occurs 6-9 days after the bites.


  • Dyspnea
  • Vomiting
  • Regurgitation
  • High blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty in eating
  • Dysphonia
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive dilatation of pupil in the eye.

The symptoms found in tick paralysis in dogs and cats include vomiting, regurgitation, unsteadiness, high blood pressure, fast heart rate, weakness, especially in the hind limbs, partial or complete loss of muscle movements, poor reflexes to complete loss of reflex, muscle weakness, difficulty in eating, dysphonia, dyspnea, excessive drooling, enlarged esophagus and excessive dilatation of pupil in the eye.

Treatment and Prevention

In case of severe illness, dogs will need to be hospitalized with close supervision of the veterinarian. In the case where no symptom is experienced, prevention can be made by having regular baths and ticks elimination. To get rid of ticks, either anti-tick products or simply detaching of the ticks from the dog will do. Best is to consult with the veterinarian so that the best prevention and treatment options can be sought

  1. Wikipedia | Tick paralysis
  2. Honestdocs | Tick paralysis
  3. Petmd | Tick paralysis
  4. Jonathan A. Edlow, MD, FACEP and Daniel C. MCGillicuddy, MD. 2008. Tick Paralysis. Infect Dis Clin N Am. 22: 397-413.
  5. RA Webster, PC Mills and JM Morton. 2013. Indications, durations and outcomes of mechanical ventilation in dogs and cats with tick paralysis caused by Ixodes holocyclus: 61 cases (2008–2011). Australian Veterinary Journal. 91:233-239.
  6. Richard Malik BVSc, Dip Vet An, PhD, MACVSc and Brian R.H. Farrow BVSc, PhD, FACVSc. 1991. Tick Paralysis in North America and Australia. Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice. 21(1): 157-171.
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