Tick Paralysis in Your Pet

Koko presented to our Emergency Department with severe tick paralysis after visiting the Tablelands last month. Koko received tick anti-serum but was already severely paralyzed and unable to swallow and breathe on her own. Because of this, Koko was placed on a ventilator for several days to assist her breathing. She made a full recovery and it made us all very happy to see her return home.

Important!!! Paralysis Tick Prevention.

Please find some helpful information below about how to keep your pets protected from paralysis ticks.
  • Symptoms of Paralysis Tick Poisoning

    The paralysis tick causes paralysis in a variety of forms, but typically starts with weakness of the hindquarters and staggering gait, progressing to total paralysis along with difficult, exaggerated breathing. Other early symptoms include the appearance that the dog has something stuck in its throat (gurgling), vomiting or heavy, loud breathing and not being able to bark properly.

  • How to Identify a Paralysis Tick

    Paralysis ticks can be identified by their grey body and their legs around their head. Unlike other adult ticks, paralysis ticks have one pair of brown legs closest to their head, then two pairs of white legs and then one pair of brown legs closest to their body.

  • 4 Methods to Prevent Tick Paralysis

    Paralysis tick prevention is essential and you must take precautions if you live in a tick area or are travelling to the east coast on holidays. There are several options when it comes to paralysis tick prevention products and methods, each depends on your dog’s age, size and lifestyle.

1. Daily Tick Searches.

Search your dog thoroughly every day, especially around the head, ears and under the collar where ticks commonly attach. Don’t forget to check between the toes and under the tail. Clipping your dog’s coat short, especially during the tick season, makes performing tick searches much easier. It is recommended to use a tick preventative as well as daily tick searches. If you find a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers or better still, a tick-removing device, which you can get from your vet or pet store. Try to gently lever the tick off, not to squeeze the tick’s body. If you remove a tick after your dog has started showing some signs, you should seek veterinary attention. If your dog is paralysed, you must seek veterinary attention immediately.

2. Tick Collars

Tick collars can provide protection but in tick paralysis areas, daily searching of the entire body is still recommended. Don’t forget to remove the collar before washing or swimming. (Kiltix Collar – 6 weeks protection, Seresto Collar – 4months protection)

3. Oral /Chewable Oral.

Chews are easy to administer offer up to 4 months paralysis tick prevention. Oral chews like Bravecto can also protect against flea infestations. (Nexgard Chew – 1 month protection, Bravecto Chew – 4 months protection)

4. Spot-on Products

Spot-on tick prevention products like Advantix and Frontline Plus both repels and kills paralysis ticks when applied every 14 days. The products are suitable to use with dogs that occasionally swim, but some spot-on products are toxic to cats so use with caution. (Bravecto Spot-on DOG – 6months, Bravecto Spot-on CAT – 3months, Revolution PLUS Cat – 5 weeks)

These are just a few of the products available to protect your pet from paralysis ticks. Talk to us next time you visit JCUVet and we will help you find the best option for your pet.
Prevention is always the best cure.
Stay safe!!!


Charli and the iceberg effect!

Sweet Charli presented to our Emergency & Critical Care Service after she was attacked by a neighbourhood dog. The attack was over quickly and whilst Charlie did not appear to have any significant injuries, her diligent owner brought her straight in for examination, and boy was Charlie lucky she did!
Charli was immediately triaged to our treatment area where she was treated for pain & mild shock and promptly started on antibiotics for the few minor puncture wounds that were visible. But despite having only minimal external injuries, what lay under the surface told a very different story.
Charli had an opening in her abdominal wall which could be felt just under the skin. She also had a swelling on top of her spine, initially thought to be associated with soft tissue swelling from a small puncture wound over this area.
A trauma ultrasound was performed which revealed that the swelling was not inflamed tissue at all but her left kidney (and spleen!) which had been forced out of the hole in her abdominal wall, secondary to the pressure from a bite, and remained trapped between her skin and spine!
Once stabilised, Charli underwent an emergency surgery to remove her left kidney which was no longer attached to its blood supply and to replace her spleen back into her abdomen where it belonged. She also had multiple internal lacerations that required extensive stitching.
Charli is a perfect example of why dog attack wounds are referred to as the “tip of the iceberg”. The skin is a tough organ designed to protect us from injury.
It can withstand far greater forces than the muscles and organs can, and thus it is not
uncommon that the internal injuries are far greater than expected. As a results of this, we always recommend prompt veterinary attention for any animal that has been attacked by a dog.
Luckily, Charli went on to make a remarkable recovery! Within two days of surgery, she was eating, drinking and walking around the clinic lapping up TLC.
Charli has continued to make an amazing recovery and is pictured here at her recheck with her dedicated & very relieved mum!

Dog’s rare condition

Oolloo presented to the JCU Vet Medicine Service to see Dr James with a long history of coughing and retching. Common causes of coughing such as heart and lungworms and infectious bronchitis were ruled out by his referring vet.
Radiographs of his lungs showed a severe bronchopneumonia. A lung wash under anaesthesia was performed and tests revealed a very severe but rare condition called ‘eosinophilic bronchopneumonia’.
This is an allergic airway disease that is easily treated with cortisone once the diagnosis is made.
Since starting treatment, Oolloo’s cough quickly disappeared so he can run around his home town on Magnetic Island enjoying the beaches and island lifestyle once again.

Redge-dog hit by a car

Redge is one tough cookie!
Redge presented to JCUVet after being hit by a car. While in hospital he had a CT scan which revealed extensive musculoskeletal injuries but miraculously no serious damage to his internal organs!! His long list of injuries included head trauma, two broken legs, a dislocated hip, multiple teeth fractures, fluid around his lungs, a small break to the bone around his eye and soft tissue injuries over his abdomen, forelimbs and head.
During his stay in hospital Regde underwent multiple orthopedic surgeries to repair his fractures. Our team of wonderful vets and nurses cared for Redge day and night until it was time for this beautiful boy to finally make his way home to his family.
At Redge’s last post-op visit (there have been many), Dr Brenton brought him through to say hello to everyone at our staff meeting and sit in as a guest of honour. Redge was such a pleasure to care for during his time in hospital and we are all so pleased to have been able to witness his incredible recovery!

Meet cat Ollie

Meet Ollie!

This little mouse is only 990grams, yet tough as nails  He came in over the weekend after an accident at home that left him with a broken femur (thigh bone). Kitten’s are daredevils and tend to get into all kinds of mischief, so it’s not uncommon that they present with these kinds of injuries.

In Ollie’s case, surgical repair of the leg was not possible, so we decided to perform an amputation. Animals always amaze us after these types of procedures, as they adapt phenomenally fast. The below pictures of Ollie were taken less than 24 hours after surgery. He had a visit with his ‘brothers’ in the morning and was home in time for dinner.

With no shortage of TLC at home, we have no doubt that Ollie will be zooming around on those three little legs in no time. Not too fast though Ollie, doctor’s orders are to rest up!


Pebbles saw Dr James today after her owner noticed remnants of blue crystals around her mouth at home. During her visit, she was given medication to induce vomiting which confirmed she had ingested rat bait. Because her owner noticed it early and we treated her quickly, she should have no adverse effects. Pebbles wasn’t too keen on eating her charcoal laced meal for us!
Tips for keeping your pets safe when eradicating pests from your home.
-Store baits safely in a locked cupboard at home
-Try using humane traps instead of baits
-Use a less toxic, pet friendly product
-Distribute baits in the roof so pets cannot access them
-Check baits/chemicals around your home frequently
-Remove deceased rodents lying nearby quickly