7 month old male poodle mix “Licorice” came to VetMed recently after being unwell – a few vomits, hiding in the back yard, making a coughing/grunting sound and not eating his food. On physical examination he was found to be tense all over, swaying on his feet and had an exaggerated gait.

Dr. Monica was suspicious of tick paralysis and quickly confirmed her suspicions when she found a paralysis tick attached and engorged on Licorice’s neck!

Treatment began with intravenous fluid therapy and tick anti-toxin serum (TAS) was administered in order to neutralise any fresh toxin still circulating in the body. Unfortunately, TAS can only neutralise the toxin that isn’t yet tissue bound and cannot reverse the toxin that is already affecting our patient. Licorice’s beautiful coat was also clipped short all over to help visualise any other ticks, and Bravecto was administered as an added precaution.

Licorice’s condition improved throughout the day and overnight with continued supportive care. These photos and video of the next morning show how much better he was feeling after his hospital stay!

Licorice a pet dog



Thankfully, he was discharged to rest at home the following day. His owners will help him to rest for the next 2-3 weeks, as the impairment of the cardiovascular system can impact our patient’s ability to cope with high energy levels for up to 2-3 weeks after visibly recovering.

During tick season, it is important to regularly check over our dogs and cats thoroughly. Ticks love to seek out areas that are dark and damp, so neck folds, ears, armpits, and inguinal regions are often implicated. The majority of ticks will be from the armpits forward, but it is imperative to always search over the entire body.

Signs to look out for in our pets may include:

  • Hind limb incoordination or weakness
  • Difficulty breathing or increased breathing effort
  • Change or loss of voice
  • Gagging, grunting or coughing
  • Inappetence (reduced or no appetite) or difficulty eating/swallowing
  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Dilated pupils

There are currently many tick preventatives available, we are more than happy to recommend a preventative best suited to you and your pet’s needs.