2019 Flea & Tick Survival Guide

Tick Paralysis in Cats

5 min read



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.