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2015 Flea & Tick Survival Guide

Tick Paralysis in Cats



In case of severe disease, your cat will need to be hospitalized for intensive care and nursing support. Respiratory paralysis is an emergency and needs immediate veterinary medical attention.


Identifying and detaching the ticks is the first step to preventing the further release of toxins and aggravating the symptoms. Even if no ticks are found, an insecticidal bath may be used for your cat to kill any ticks that may be hidden in the folds of the skin. In some cases, this is the only treatment required and the cat will soon start showing signs of recovery. However, in cases with respiratory paralysis, oxygen supplementation or some other form of artificial ventilation will be required to keep the cat breathing.


If the cat is dehydrated, intravenous fluids will be given, along with medications that can be used to counter the effects of the toxins on the nervous system, and to relax the muscles enough so that the cat can breathe.


Living and Management


For the best recovery, you will want to keep your cat in a quiet, cool environment. The affects of the toxins are temperature dependent and at high temperatures aggravation of symptoms may increase. Physical activity should also be temporarily avoided, as activity can increase body temperature and aggravate symptoms. Encourage your cat to relax as much as possible until a full recovery.


Some affected cats have problems with vomiting and loss of appetite and are unable to eat. In such cases, food should not be offered until these symptoms are properly managed. Your veterinarian will instruct you on the type of food supplements that should be fed to your cat, and the method you should use to feed your cat (which can be by syringe or tube, for example). Good home nursing care is important for a prompt and full recovery.


During hospitalization, a daily neurological assessment of your cat will be taken. The overall prognosis largely depends on the specie of tick that was found to have infested your cat, but as with any illness, your cat's recovery may also rest on its health condition and age previous to the tick acquired illness. In some cases, and with particularly toxic reactions, death can occur even with the best treatment.


Comments  1

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  • Not enough information
    08/04/2015 09:14am

    The information in this article is lacking, and seemingly contradictory:
    It suggests, but does not outright state, that the condition is reversible. Medicines to counteract the toxin is mentioned - but what medicines, precisely? How soon to be effective, how effective? Can early treatment render a full recovery? Do some cases resolve on their own?

    The author describes the identification of the tick to make a final determination of disease. Why not tell readers what tick(s) are being referred to here?

    Finally, the paralysis is described as having a relaxing effect on muscles, but later refers to a medicine to help "relax" muscles for breathing purposes. Would not this exacerbate the original crisis? Why are we relaxing muscles that are already dangerously in a state of permanent relaxation?

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