January 17, 2024

The truth on where pets pick up ticks

The truth on where pets pick up ticks
Dr. Chris Brown

Ticks might be tiny, but the worry around them is far from teeny. And now we’re in peak tick season, so many people have asked WHERE the danger zones are for picking up paralysis ticks. And can your pets get one in the local park?

Ok. Relax. For ‘most’ of us, we don't have paralysis ticks crawling around our own backyard.

In fact, paralysis ticks need two big things if they’re going to take hold. It’s the two B’s…

1. Bandicoots: This is probably the surprise. But if you look at the areas of the east coast of Australia where paralysis ticks occur, it’s almost a perfect match for where bandicoots live. And that’s no accident. They play the role of the tick host and are unaffected by ticks. If you’re seeing small freshly dug holes then bandicoots might be about. Some other native wildlife like possums, koalas and wallabies can also play the role of host.

2. Bushland: Ticks dry out if they’re out in the open, so some shady coastal bushland is perfect. It’s also a home for bandicoots. From there, they’ll find some grass to climb and then wait for you or your bestie to brush past…

The reality is most ticks are picked up on weekend getaways and holidays to unfamiliar coastal areas with ticks. But you can remove all the surprises by using tick prevention. However, in my experience you can still find dead ticks on your pet even while on prevention. These wouldn't have been able to cause paralysis. 

That's why I still recommend a full tick check with your own fingers and eyes. And removal with the Tick Stick remover.

Just remember, once a tick attaches, it’s still 3-4 days before the signs of paralysis start to appear. So if you’ve been away for the weekend, Monday to Wednesday are the most common days to see signs…


What are the signs your dog or cat has a tick?

The paralysis tick releases a toxin in their saliva that’s absorbed into the body. Creepily, it then acts as a paralysing agent that works from the back legs forward to the rest of the body.

So typically, this is the progression of signs as it works its way up the body…

  1. Weak back legs. Even a stumbling walk
  2. Vomiting
  3. Laboured or difficult breathing
  4. Gagging or Coughing
  5. Collapse

But importantly, it doesn’t always look this way. Often vomiting is the first sign people see. Or difficulty breathing. The key is recognising that they’re acting ‘off’ and looking at where you’ve been over the last few days.

See any of the above signs and a tick is highly possible. Having the Tick Stick on hand makes removal super easy and stress free...

The Tick Stick
The Tick Stick


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