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Ticks & Fleas

Information about ticks and fleas in Australia, the signs of tick paralysis and what to do if your pet has a tick. There are also excellent flea control products that are safe and effective for your pet.


There are four main types of ticks found on the east coast of Australia. These are:

  • paralysis ticks
  • brown dog ticks
  • cattle ticks
  • scrub ticks.

The size of a tick is an indication of its age and not its type. The size of an engorged tick ranges from a few millimetres to 15 millimetres.

95% of ticks attach to the front end of the body, especially the head and neck. While feeding, they inject toxins which find their way to the nervous system causing paralysis. Tick signs can occur as early as one day after attachment.

Signs of tick paralysis:

  • Quietness
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Change in sound of bark of meow
  • Weakness in the back legs or total paralysis
  • Reduced or absent ability to swallow causing distress and gagging
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Advanced heart and respiratory failure leading to death in up to 5% of cases despite treatment.

If your pet is healthy remove the tick, ideally with a tick twister available from the vet, or remove it with fingers or tweezers. Make sure you remove the entire tick. Swelling or a crater may remain where it was attached. Call a vet if you have any concerns and make sure your pet is on tick prevention.

If your pet is unwell remove the tick as above or leave it for the vet to remove. Call a vet immediately to arrange for them to see your pet. Your pet will require treatment that should not be delayed. Please call a vet even if you can't find the tick but suspect tick paralysis.


If there are fleas about they will find a way onto your dog's coat. Whether they exist as eggs, larvae or young fleas, they will soon invade your pet and their environment and your home. There are excellent flea control products available that are safe, effective and easy to use.