What happens to a dog during recovery from being bitten by a paralysis tick is highly case dependent and not easily predictable. The sooner your dog is presented to the vet, the better their chances of a full recovery.
A dog’s condition can rapidly deteriorate for up to 48 hours after removing a tick. The veterinarian will examine your pet and recommend treatment and hospitalisation. The neurotoxin does affect the muscles used for breathing, causing them to fail. In severe cases, affected pets may require the help of a ventilator to breathe.
Paralysis tick aftercare
If your pet is recovering from their treatment for tick paralysis, please follow your Greencross Vet’s instructions and carefully read the following information so that you can provide your pet with the right aftercare when they return home.
Once they are discharged from the vet, your pet may take a few weeks to return to their normal selves. They may be weak, have a strange bark, struggle to swallow, and have a cough. It’s important that you keep your dog quiet and follow your vet’s instructions while they recover. If there are any concerning ongoing symptoms, take your pet back to your vet to be re-assessed.
Rest and exercise
It is essential that your dog or cat is kept quiet and rested. They should not be allowed to exercise or run around for the 10-14 days or so following their treatment for tick paralysis. There may still be residual tick toxin in your pet’s body and exercise, stress and heat will all be detrimental to their health.
Food and water
Your pet’s ability to swallow may have been affected by the tick’s poison. For the 5 days after treatment, please only offer them small amounts of water and soft food at regular intervals. If there is any coughing or gagging, please contact your Greencross Vet.
You may notice a small weak cough. This should dissipate over the next week or so. If you notice that the cough is becoming worse or that your pet does not seem like themselves, please do not hesitate to contact your local Greencross Vets as soon as possible. You may notice that your dog’s bark is a bit harsh or that your cat’s meow is not as strong as normal – this will take time to return.
Paralysis tick monitoring
You must still check your dog or cat daily for ticks as the tick antiserum they have been administered does not provide them with immunity from paralysis ticks. Approximately 90% of ticks are found on pets from the front shoulders forward. However, they can occur at any place on the body, including between the feet, ears, mouth etc. Your pet has been weakened and will be more susceptible to the effects of tick paralysis so if you notice another tick on your pet, take them to your nearest Greencross Vets clinic immediately.
Paralysis tick minimisation
Regularly using a tick treatment as per the label will decrease the chance of your pet having a tick. However no method can guarantee 100% protection and we always recommend daily checks. Some pets benefit from regular “tick clips” as having a shorter coat makes it faster to find potential ticks.
Warning signs to look out for
Call your Greencross Vets clinic immediately for advice if:
- your pet is not responding to treatment as you feel they should be
- you have any questions about your pet’s health at all