Symptoms of tick paralysis in your Cat

Paralysis tick on a cat

All untreated cases of tick paralysis end up looking like a paralysed cat. However the initial symptoms can be variable. They may include:

  • Change in voice or their regular meowing sounds.

  • Dilation of the pupils

  • Difficulty in swallowing water or food or an exaggerated swallowing motion.

  • Coughing or gagging when swallowing

  • Vomiting

  • Slight weakness especially in the hind legs ( stands for only short time then sits down quickly. This could look like being less inclined to jump up on furniture etc.)

  • Slower/ more deliberate breathing than normal.

  • Wobbliness particularly in hind legs initially

As symptoms worsen:

  • Wobbliness becoming weakness becoming paralysis of hind legs then front legs and the losing the ability to sit up.

  • Breathing becoming more difficult, weaker and shallower until the cat cannot breathe for itself.

  • Loss of the ability to swallow and the gag reflex so the airways are no longer protected from saliva being inhaled into lungs.

  • Bladder loses the ability to contract and urine pools and bladder is stretched beyond its normal capacity.

  • The cat dies of either not enough oxygen from poor breathing, or aspiration of saliva or bodily fluids into airways.

If your cat has a tick remove it immediately with as little squeezing as possible, ideally with a “tick twister” or similar. Keep the tick in a zip-lock bag. Paralysis ticks are spread by bandicoots, a small nocturnal native animal who likes long grass and scrubby undergrowth, which is most of Greenbank, Spring Mountain, New Beith, Munruben, Flagstone, North and South Maclean and Jimboomba.

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