Tick Paralysis Average Cost

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Average Cost


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What are Tick Paralysis?

When a tick bites your cat it will usually stay attached and continue feeding on your feline's blood until it becomes engorged. A tick that has fed will appear as a lump on your cat's skin, and may look like a large skin tag.

If your pet has recently been bitten by a tick, watch for any signs of illness, from a fever to an inability for to move the back legs. If something appears wrong, it is important to get the cat to a veterinarian immediately.

Tick paralysis is a condition that occurs when a cat is bitten by a type of tick that produces a paralysis-causing toxin. Of the several hundred tick species found worldwide, there approximately 40 have this ability. It is important to protect your cat from tick bites if you live in an area that is known to be home to any tick species. There are different symptoms for each illness that can be caused by tick bites, but a bite from a paralysis tick can literally cause paralysis in cats and other animals.

Symptoms of Tick Paralysis in Cats

If your cat has been bitten by a tick that can cause paralysis you will notice some visible symptoms that something is wrong. These include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness in limbs
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Poor reflexes
  • Muscle paralysis
  • Vocal issues
  • Excessive drooling
  • Trouble eating

Causes of Tick Paralysis in Cats

The singular cause of tick paralysis for cats is the bite of a tick that releases a toxin into the cat’s bloodstream. Not all ticks produce toxins that cause paralysis. Australia and North America are the places most likely to be home to paralysis ticks. These ticks are generally carried by another animal, and then find their way onto your pet when they pass through the same areas

In North America, the two most common ticks that cause paralysis are the Rocky Mountain wood tick and the American dog tick.

Diagnosis of Tick Paralysis in Cats

If you find a tick on your cat, remove it with tweezers, grabbing it close to the head to be sure you remove all of its mouth parts. If your cat begins to show any signs of illness, get it to the doctor immediately. If possible, store the removed tick in a jar to take with you to the vet for identification. 

Even after removal, your veterinarian should be able to tell where the tick bit your cat. Blood and urine tests will help your doctor determine the effects of the bite and rule out other illnesses. If they find a tick on your cat during examination they can remove it and send it to a lab for analysis.

Treatment of Tick Paralysis in Cats

If ticks are found, the first step in treatment will be to remove them. Whether or not ticks were found, or just signs of them, your cat will require an insecticidal bath that will kill any that may not have been found. If your cat is having a severe reaction it will need to be hospitalized for treatment. This could include medical care, respiratory care, and the administration of intravenous fluids. 

Even with treatment, your cat is still at risk. These four typical stages of paralysis can indicate the severity and progression of the cat’s condition: 

  1. Problems walking, wobbly on the feet, and change in voice and eating habits
  2. Vomiting and an inability to move the back feet
  3. Inability to sit or lay on the side, difficulty breathing
  4. Signs of respiratory failure

If the cat has experienced all four stages of paralysis, it’s chance of recovery may be diminished. Older, weaker cats may also have a less optimistic prognosis than healthy, young cats affected by a paralysis tick bite.

Recovery of Tick Paralysis in Cats

Upon returning home, keep your cat them in a cool environment. The toxins from the paralysis tick work with warm and humid air, so keeping the cat cool can minimize effects. Also, prevent the cat exerting a lot of energy. If your cat has problems eating or can't hold down food, your doctor will recommend ways to keep your cat nourished.

It is important to continue watching for ticks on your cat, especially after any trips outside. Even with medications for tick protection, your cat still runs the risk of a tick bite if they spend time outdoors.

Tick Paralysis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Short hair tabby
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Poor balance
tick removed 24 hours before
coughing sound

Medication Used

Anti-paralysis tick serum

We noticed our cat was making a strange noise. It was a bit like a combination of purring and growling. We had removed a tick the day before. Our cat seemed otherwise fine. We decided to take our cat to the vet as a precaution. Lucky we did!

The vet advised that the sound he was making was characteristic of a reaction to a paralysis tick. It impacts their nervous system and effects their breathing. She said that while his balance seemed okay when he was on the floor he had difficulty jumping.

He was kept in overnight and given anti-tick serum. Apparently this needs to be given over time because it's based on dogs' blood and it can be dangerous for them to have it all at once. They also recommended that his fur be clipped to make sure he didn't have any other ticks because that would counteract the serum. He was sedated for the clipping.

We were advised to pick him up early the next day as he was not eating or urinating and they advised that this was a sign that he was distressed. He ate and did an impressive show of emptying his bladder as soon as we got him home. We were told that we needed to keep him quiet for two weeks following the treatment because exertion might (in rare cases) trigger heart failure. It's been two weeks and he seems fine but he is now sneezing on a fairly regular basis throughout the day. He's otherwise fine. I'm wondering if the sneezing is also about his respiratory system being effected and whether or not it's permanent. I'm hoping he didn't pick up something else while he was at the vet hospital.

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Year and a half
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

If my cat had a tick and it wasn't noticed until he slept and wouldn't get up if he did wouldn't stand for long would just flop down had weird breathing and would sound weird looked and sounded as if in pain when moved and would vomit how long till they recover after tick has been removed he is roughly a year old

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3319 Recommendations
Generally you should see improvement within 24 to 72 hours however, if you are in Australia you should visit your Veterinarian as an antiserum may need to be administered for recovery to commence. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/cat-owners/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders-of-cats/tick-paralysis-in-cats

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3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Spazzing And excessive meowing
Spazzing And eve meowing

My cat has been running around freaking out and meowing, could something be wrong? I live in an area where ticks are present but he has not gone outside. Should I go to vet

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1610 Recommendations
I'm not sure why Roscoe is running around and crying, whether he is scared, or painful, or being playful. If he seems in distress and it isn't getting better, it might be a good idea to have him examined just in case something is going on with him.

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domestic medium hair
1 Year
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

lack of appetite

I found a tick on my cat Saturday, I gave him a flea/tick bath and thats when I found it. He had been acting strange the day prior, and its only getting worse. No one will see him until I get paid on Wednesday.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3319 Recommendations
Without examining Toulouse I cannot say whether the symptoms are related to the tick found or if there is another underlying cause, tick paralysis is uncommon in cats (more often seen in dogs) and with most ticks the effects wear off after 24-48 hours once the tick has been removed. Keep an eye on Toulouse and visit your Veterinarian when you have the opportunity. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/cat-owners/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders-of-cats/tick-paralysis-in-cats

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domestic short hair
5 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Paralysis in her back legs

My kitten was bitten by a paralysis tick and has not shown any other symptoms of the toxin taking affect. But she can't eat or drink and we can't afford the anti-venom. She can't walk or move her back legs. Our vet said to use vet-pay but they knocked us back. The tick was removed by the vet and it has been a little over a 1 day since it was removed. What are her chances of living if she doesn't get the serum?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3319 Recommendations
Typically removal of a tick (except for Ixodes holocyclus) will result in an improvement of symptoms after 24 hours and recovery within 72 hours; I don’t have any specific statistics to share with you on recovery without tick antitoxin serum (TAS), it is however the treatment of choice in severe cases. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/nervous-system/tick-paralysis/overview-of-tick-paralysis

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