RSPCA's urgent tick warning to pet owners

Published 1:39pm 10 December 2021

RSPCA's urgent tick warning to pet owners
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

With the weather heating up, pet owners should ensure their four-legged friends are protected against ticks, with vets seeing an increase in cases.

Since September, the RSPCA has seen more than 25 cases of tick paralysis in dogs and cats.

RSCPA Queensland chief veterinary officer Dr Anne Chester said if left untreated, tick paralysis could be fatal.

“Some pets can be on oxygen for days, fighting to survive and sadly, not pull through,” she said.

“The best way to prevent heartache is to use tick preventatives.

“You should also be checking your pets over daily for any lumps and bumps and watch for the signs of tick paralysis in your pet.”

What to look for


Ticks are a small insect (around 3 - 5 mm long) of the arachnid family. There are several tick species but the one of most concern is the paralysis tick.

Ticks come in a variety of sizes and can range from a pin head up to the size of a fingernail.

They are oval or rounded in appearance, and can be either cream, dark grey or brown in colour.

When the tick latches on to your pet's skin, it will look like a small rounded pebble. Once they have attached, you might not be able to see their legs.

Ticks can often be on exposed skin of your pet, especially around their face, neck, underbelly and the insides of their legs.

Signs your pet is suffering from a paralysis tick include vomiting, gagging, a slight wobbliness of the hindquarters which worsens over time, an inability to stand, difficulty breathing and refusing food.

Pet owners should check their animals regularly, especially if they have been exploring in long grass.

If you discover a tick, remove it straight away with tweezers, and visit your vet.

Read more local news here.

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