Buddy is a well-loved Yorkshire Terrier who has travelled across the world to come to Queensland where unfortunately he got bitten by an Ixodes holocyclis scrub (or paralysis) tick on his face.

These paralysis ticks are very common all around the Sunshine Coast area and your animals are more likely to meet one if you have their host animals, bandicoots, in your neighbourhood. They can be carried by other animals like possums and kangaroos or wallabies and even other dogs or cats. The young ticks are only the size of a match head when they climb up grass or fronds to then drop on your pet’s skin as they walk by.

Within 1-3 days of attaching on your pet’s skin, signs of tick poisoning begin. These signs can be vomiting, weakness, staggering, panting, coughing, gasping for breath, collapse or even diarrhoea and lameness.

When Buddy arrived at our surgery he was having trouble getting air, as his lungs and throat were becoming paralysed. He was also vomiting frothy fluid. The combination of vomiting with paralysis of the throat is obviously not good as it usually leads on to inhalation pneumonia and death. In Buddy’s case the chest and throat were the worst affected areas yet he could still walk a little.

He had to have an endotracheal tube placed into his trachea so he could get oxygen immediately, and later this was replaced with oxygen delivered via a tube straight into the back of his nasal cavity. He ended up needing this full-time oxygen support for 2 DAYS AND 2 NIGHTS before he could get his own lungs and throat back in order.

Buddy had to have some Anti-Tick Serum given into his drip, and we also gave intravenous vitamin C which helps in these severe cases. He was supported and strengthened during his recovery with various homeopathic medicines. Initially he was treated with Carbo veg as he could not breathe, then later he was given Aconite for panic and shock, and then Gelsemium to help unlock the lungs. When he developed inflammation in the lungs he was treated with Lycopodium, and then Apis, to help clear fluid, and finally Arsenicum album as he also had persistent diarrhoea from the poisoning.

At times, local paralysis symptoms can persist in the area of the tick attachment. Buddy was left with an eyelid that would not close for a few days and he needed his eyes lubricated during this period. Some animals can get overheated easily for a month or so after such a paralysis and this can be due to the tick poisoning affecting the muscles of the chest so they must be careful with exertion until fully recovered.