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October is tick season.

Please don’t assume that the ticks just come out at Christmas time! October is the peak month for paralysis ticks on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.This is Mackenzie, a red-pointed ragdoll cat. His owner couldn’t remember the last date tick control had been applied. Can you remember when your pet’s treatment was last given?

Mackenzie presented to PAH walking strangely and breathing in a noisy way. We call this breathing in cats “a ticky grunt“. No tick was found at first, but Mackenzie was admitted for sedation and anaesthesia. Ticky cats can rapidly deteriorate and develop severe respiratory distress.

Once Mackenzie was safely anaesthetised a large tick was found on his face. The tick was removed and his coat was clipped short all over to look for any other paralysis ticks. He was treated with anti-tick serum to try to neutralise any tick poison in the blood stream.

Mackenzie was supported in hospital for the next 3 days. He was actively warmed, his eyes were lubricated, bladder expressed and he stayed on iv fluids until he was well enough to eat again.

Tick paralysis is a very serious disease. Not all animals survive, but those that do generally make a full recovery.

Our advice is to avoid having a personal tick paralysis experience by protecting your dogs and cats with regular tick control.

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