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Animal Paralysis due to Ticks?


If you read this blog, you know that I am a huge dog lover (come on, look at that face). I make sure that my four-legged companion is fed correctly, has the right amount of exercise and gets the necessary shots and medicine to keep him strong and healthy. There are some ailments, however, that are difficult, if not impossible, to prevent and one can be caused by the dreaded tick.

I recently read an article about a dog that started displaying disturbing symptoms. An otherwise healthy dog all of a sudden started losing control of her legs. Seeing the animal get worse, it ended up being diagnosed as tick paralysis and after removing more than 4 ticks from the dog, it was able to fully recover.

Tick paralysis is a relatively common illness that mostly affects cows and sheep, but has been known to affect dogs and some humans. Tick paralysis occurs when a tick attaches and feeds for an extended period of time. A female tick causes the disease with toxins in the salivary glands. Weakness in the legs is usually the first symptom and begins 2-7 days after the tick bite. The symptoms can worsen very quickly, spreading to the trunk and head within hours, but rarely ends in death.

The treatment for tick paralysis is simple: remove the attached tick. Unlike other vector-borne diseases, tick paralysis isn’t caused by a virus or bacterium that stays in the body long after the parasite is removed. Instead, it’s a chemical reaction to the tick, so when the tick is properly removed, the symptoms fade quickly.

Although it is most common in dog and Rocky Mountain ticks, over forty species of ticks are known to cause tick paralysis. The best way to protect your animals from the dangers of ticks is to protect them as best you can. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray, misting systems and tick tubes are a few ways to protect your property and animals against ticks (and mosquitoes of course!). All of our services aim to get mosquitoes and ticks before they have the opportunity to bite.

Tick control in your yard isn’t always enough to protect some of your pets from ticks, especially dogs that may go hiking with their owners. For example, although I protect my property from ticks, I still give my dog a topical medication because we hike and walk in wooded areas where ticks are known to be. Additionally, it’s imperative that you check your animals for ticks on a daily basis during tick season to ensure they don’t have time to attach and transmit any dangerous diseases.

If you have questions regarding any of our tick and mosquito control services, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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* Tick control not available in MI without a license

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