That’s toxic! The top 14 foods to keep your pets away from

There are a range of substances that can cause serious harm to pets. Listed below are just a few of the common products that you need to prevent your pet gaining access to.

Grapes, sultanas & raisins: The toxic substance in grapes, sultanas and raisins is unknown, however ingestion may cause kidney failure in sensitive pets and there is no ‘safe’ dose.Image result for grapes and sultanas

Caffeine: is a stimulant and pets are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people. A couple of laps of tea or coffee are unlikely to do any harm, but if your pet swallows a handful of coffee beans, coffee grinds or tea bags they could be in danger.
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Chocolate: contains a stimulant called theobromine which is poisonous to pets. The darker the chocolate the more theobromine it contains. Signs of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures this can lead to cardiac arrest.
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Mouldy foods: including bread, nuts and dairy products, contain lots of toxins that could make your pet very ill so keep all pets away from compost.
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Onions, garlic, and chives: eating these vegetables and herbs can cause stomach and gut irritation and potentially lead to red blood cell damage and anaemia.
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Alcohol: is significantly more toxic to pets than to humans. When consumed, even small quantities of alcoholic beverages and food products may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors,
blood changes, coma and death.
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Macadamia nuts: within 12 hours of ingestion, macadamia nuts can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and increased body temperature.
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Yeast dough: the rising dough causes gas to accumulate in the pet’s digestive system. Not only can this be painful, but it may also cause the stomach or intestines to become blocked. So while small bits of bread can be given as a treat — never give your pet yeast dough.
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Bones: dogs regularly present to vets for emergency surgical procedures to remove intestinal obstructions after swallowing pieces of bone that become stuck. Other conditions bones frequently cause include constipation, pancreatitis, teeth fractures as well as internal injury such as bone splinters which can puncture your dog’s digestive tract.
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Corn on the cob: if your dog swallows large chunks of the cob, or even the whole cob, it can cause an intestinal blockage due to its size and shape. Signs to look out for are vomiting, loss of appetite or reduced appetite, absence of faeces or diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort.
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Xylitol: is an artificial sweetener found in many products that causes insulin release which can lead to potentially fatal hypoglycaemia (lowered sugar levels).
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Milk: feeding your dog milk and other milk-based products can cause diarrhoea or other digestive upsets.
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Blue cheese: the roquefortine C found in blue cheese may cause
vomiting and diarrhoea, can lead to tremors, twitching, seizures and
high temperature.
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Death cap mushrooms: Are lethal to pets and humans –
no contact is safe.
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If your pet ever ingests something you are unsure about please give us a call on (02) 6230 2223 straight away.

Patient Spotlight: Harriet’s Story

Harriet the Australian Cattle Dog was just 11 weeks old when she first visited Hall Veterinary Surgery.  Australian Cattle Dogs are known for being highly active, independent and brave but its safe to say that when Harriet came through our doors she was not feeling like any of the above.

Harriet’s attentive owners first noticed vomiting, and a lack of energy and appetite. They immediately knew that something wasn’t right and phoned to book an appointment with Dr Jenny.

When Dr Jenny examined Harriet she found that she was extremely uncomfortable in her tummy and that she was very dehydrated.  She was admitted to hospital where we started her on IV fluids and strong pain relief to keep her comfortable whilst we investigated further.

Harriet feeling less than 100% when first admitted to hospital at Hall Veterinary Surgery.

We then ran some diagnostic tests to find a cause for her symptoms.  These tests revealed that Harriet had a painful condition called an ‘intussusception’. This is where part of her intestine was telescoping inside itself.  Her ultrasound images (below) showed multiple loops of intestine inside each other.

Harriet’s ultrasound images showing multiple loops of intestine inside each other.
Harriet’s ultrasound images showing multiple loops of intestine inside each other.

Unfortunately this meant that little Harriet had to have a surgical procedure to correct the intussusception. Dr Jenny had to remove a small portion of her intestine that was dying. Harriet recovered well from her General Anaesthesia and was kept on her IV fluids and pain relief throughout the afternoon.

Harriet was taken to Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services via the Pet Ambulance for overnight monitoring and was discharged home to her loving owners the next day.

Just 2 weeks later we had another visit from Harriet and her family but thankfully this time it was just for her Puppy Vaccinations. We were all so pleased to see a gorgeous, energetic and bouncy puppy, a completely different dog to the one we had seen just 2 weeks earlier.

Harriet was a completely different dog when she visited Dr Candice just 2 weeks post surgery for her puppy vaccinations.
We were so pleased to see Harriet back to her normal, energetic and bouncy self.

If it wasn’t for Harriet’s dedicated and loving owners she may not be here with us today.

If your pet is ever vomiting, off their food or simply just not themselves, please phone us on (02) 6230 2223.

Grass Seeds and Your Dog

Spring and Summer means fun outdoor times for many Australian families and their canine companions. Unfortunately with beautiful weather comes rapid growth of vegetation meaning grass seeds are out and about. These little suckers can cause lots of pain and suffering to our pets and their owners, they have a sharp tip enabling them to pierce the skin easily and can migrate through the body often bringing infection with them.

At Hall Vet Surgery the most common places we find grass seeds caught are in ear canals, in between toes, up nostrils, in eyelids or even behind eyeballs, underneath skin in various parts of the body and lodged in the vulva/penis.

Below are a list of symptoms, possible complications and what to do/not to do depending on the location of the grass seed.



A grass seed in the ear might make your dog shake their head, cry out in pain, hold their head to one side or scratch at their ear.
Potential Complications:
Grass seeds lodged in the ear canal can cause ear infection, rupture of the ear drum, loss of hearing or balance and even death if infection reaches the brain.
What to do:
Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible.
What not to do:
DO NOT try to remove the grass seed yourself, the ear is likely to be very painful and sensitive and if your pets moves their head suddenly you could severely damage their ear drum. Do not put any ear cleanser down the ear, if there is a grass seed present you will push it closer to the ear drum making it more difficult and hazardous to remove.


A grass seed caught in your dog’s paw may cause a red, swollen and discharging lump on the paw, your dog may limp or lick/chew at their paw constantly.
Potential Complications:
Infection, migration of the grass seed into leg and possibly in between ligaments or tendons.
What to do:
Ring your vet to make an appointment. Keep area clean with warm salty water and where possible restrain your dog from licking – this can actually push the grass seed further into the skin and cause more damage. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required.
What not to do:
Do not try to remove the grass seed yourself.



Symptoms present when a grass seed has travelled into the nostril are often; sneezing, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge and rubbing or pawing at face.
Potential Complications:
A grass seed in the nostril can cause serious damage to airways and if the seed migrates into the lung it can become a life threatening emergency.
What to do:
Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. Restrict exercise. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required.
What not to do:
Do not delay treatment.


Having a grass seed caught in the eye can be extremely painful for your dog, symptoms often seen are; eyes that are swollen closed, discharge from eye, visible third eyelid and some pets may paw at their eye or rub their face on the ground/furniture.
Potential Complications:
Ulceration of the eyes surface, if damage is severe enough eye removal can be necessary.
What to do:
Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required.
What not to do:
Do not delay treatment.


You will often an oozing lump sometimes with a visible entry hole, you may also notice your dog constantly lick at a spot on their body.
Potential Complications:
Infection, migration of the seed through the body.
What to do:
Ring your vet to make an appointment. Keep area clean with warm salty water and where possible restrain your dog from licking – this can actually push the grass seed further into the skin and cause more damage. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required.
What not to do:
Do not try to remove the grass seed yourself even if the tail is visible.


Difficulty urinating, blood in urine, licking at the site and redness or swelling.
Potential Complications:
Infection, damage to structures, invasive surgery to remove.
What to do:
Ring your vet to make an appointment. If possible, try to catch a fresh urine sample and bring it with you to your appointment. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required.
What not to do:
Do not delay treatment.


The animal’s body is not able to break down a grass seed so when a grass seed is embedded it generally requires surgical removal. In the case of surgical removal your pet will usually have a general anaesthetic whilst we extract the offending grass seeds. General Anaesthesia allows the procedure to be painless for your pet and allows your vet to thoroughly investigate the area – we usually find more than one grass seed in any given case so it is important that we are able to have a really good look. Delaying the initial vet visit may result in more invasive (and more expensive) surgeries to find and remove the seed.

Grass Seeds surgically removed from a Dog’s ear here at Hall Vet Surgery.

Prevention is the best cure

Here are some ways you can prevent the risk of grass seeds to your dog:

  • Avoiding long grass when out walking/exploring (this also helps to minimise the risk of Snake Bites)
  • Keeping the grass in your yard tidy and mowed
  • Clipping the fur of long haired dogs. If your dog is prone to grass seeds in the ears or between the toes then we recommend regular clipping of these areas to keep the hair short at all times
If your pet is showing any of the above symptoms please give us a call on (02) 62302223.


Helping ‘Zeke’ to Chill – Why some anxious dogs need medication

Zeke’s owner Ella had lot of experience raising other dogs, including her chilled female Pug X, Morgan. But puppy Zeke (also a Pug X) was different. He seemed anxious and aroused on his walks, barking and lunging at unfamiliar people, dogs, cars and bikes with hackles raised. Ella was especially concerned when Zeke reacted  aggressively towards children as her own baby was on the way. It was a fiasco getting through the gate into the dog park and he would visibly shake with dilated pupils during car trips. Games were no fun as Zeke’s mouthy play had escalated to biting hard and holding on!

Ella had taken Zeke to puppy preschool and tried adolescent obedience classes with an experienced trainer, however Zeke could only focus enough to learn when taken off to a far corner away from the other dogs. So with one month to go before Ella’s baby was due, Ella and Jordan brought 9 month old Zeke for a veterinary behaviour consultation.

Zeke’s issues stemmed from an underlying anxiety, a common cause of behavioural problems associated with a physical anomaly in brain chemistry.  This is a medical disorder caused in part by his genetic makeup as well as previous experiences.

Anxious animals, like anxious people have trouble coping with even small changes in routine. They also react fearfully towards ‘normal’ things in their world because they perceive these as threats. Unfamiliar dogs, people, kids and car trips were so distressing for Zeke that he would go into a fight or flight response in an attempt to escape or avert the trigger for his fear.

Anxious dogs have trouble learning new things because they are focused on what they perceive as life threatening matters around them. Their fear brain is in overdrive and hijacks their ability to think. This is where medication can help turn things around. Just as we might treat a diabetic dog with insulin to manage their illness, medication is helpful to manage anxiety.

Zeke was prescribed anti-anxiety medication to normalise his brain chemistry so that he could better cope with perceived stressors in his day to day life and learn calmer responses.

Is medication enough to cure anxious behaviour?

In most cases anxiety can be managed but not cured and medication alone is not enough. Anxious behaviours including fear aggression, separation anxiety, noise sensitivity and compulsive disorders require a three pronged treatment plan supervised by a behaviour veterinarian for best results. These animals do not grow out of their anxiety and without treatment they can get worse with time. Life continues to present opportunities for the dog to rehearse and reinforce the fear response.

During the behaviour consultation, and detailed in the report that followed, we formulate a plan with Ella and Jordan:

  • To modify Zeke’s exposure to the environmental triggers in order to reduce opportunities for him to practice the anxious behaviours.
  • To practice simple training tools that reinforce calm behaviour.
  • To use anti-anxiety medication and calming pheromones to set Zeke’s brain up for success
What is the effect of the medication?

Anti-anxiety medication is not sedation. The medication prescribed for Zeke increases serotonin levels in the brain and helps these nerve pathways to function more normally over time. This helps him to be less reactive and improves his ability to learn that calm behaviour is rewarding. By dampening the reactivity, Zeke can better learn positive associations to things that previously scared him. Ella compared Zeke with her’ normal’ dog, Morgan who rested most of the time between periods of exercise. Zeke remained bright and alert, however the medication helped him to be less restless and reactive.

When does the medication start to work?

There are two main categories of anti-anxiety medication – long term daily medication to reduce general anxiety levels and short term medication given as needed to manage particular stressful events.

The long term medications prescribed for Zeke take 6-8 weeks to become properly effective although further improvement can be expected up to 12 months after beginning. As they take effect, Ella has noticed Zeke is better able to learn and she finds it easier to teach him to be calm. She knows to take baby steps and choose times to reward calm behaviour where there are few distractions.

Event medications work quickly, often within an hour of dosing and can help greatly for potentially stressful events like thunderstorms, vet visits or being left alone. Zeke found a recent storms scary and coped best when Ella let him snuggle into bed with her. This is a situation where an event medication may help to calm Zeke and block his memory of the storm so that future events are less scary.

How long will my pet be on medication?

We recommend that Zeke continues the medication for at least 12 months so that it can take full effect and give Ella enough time with Zeke to shape calm habits. There is no quick fix for changing anxiety based behaviours. Behaviour modification is different from obedience training. Effective behaviour change is about changing the underlying emotional response to the situations that previously triggered fear. This takes time.

The length of time on medication differs with each individual case and follow up is important to reassess each individual’s needs. The severity of the problem, the desired outcome, the commitment to the behaviour modification program, the family and environmental situation and the pet’s reaction to the medication all influence the length of treatment.

In some cases, the pet’s behaviour problem is managed so successfully that we can wean them off the medication. In other cases, both pet and owner have a much better quality of life if the pet remains on medication long term.

Is medication safe for my pet?

All medications have the potential for side effects and these differ with each one. Generally speaking, side effects of the anti-anxiety medication that we prescribed for Zeke are rare or mild. Personality changes are not expected. The most common side effects associated with the baseline anti-anxiety medications, are a transient gastrointestinal upset or reduced appetite and mild sedation that resolves during the first two weeks. Behaviour medications are excreted through the liver and kidneys so we check with a blood test before starting and then annually to ensure these organs remain healthy.

What about pheromones?

Dog appeasement pheromone is a synthetically derived chemical identical to that produced by female dogs during lactation, which acts to calm and reassure their pups. It has been proven to help reduce anxiety in both puppies and adult dogs during stressful situations. It is available as a diffuser, spray or collar. Ella set up the diffuser to help Zeke relax indoors.


Some positives for Zeke, Ella and Jordan since starting him on medication to reduce anxiety: 

  • Medication has helped us teach him to be calm which means he can be included in baby time. He can interact with the baby instead of being separated.


  • Zeke can now watch TV with us at night without seeking our attention by mouthing at us


  • We had tried to implement things such as sitting behind a toddler gate when visitors arrived but before the medication he would try to jump the gate and we had no success. He still has room for improvement but now we can get him to sit and wait for small periods of time. 


  • When walking Zeke on lead it was almost impossible to get him to walk past houses with dogs barking in the windows or at the gates and now we can hold his attention long enough to walk past these houses with little disruption.


Patent Spotlight – Gov’nor the brave Whippet (WARNING: Graphic Content)

Its two months now since Gov’nor, the bravest and sweetest of Whippets, presented to us collapsed after being severely attacked by a new foster dog. The skin on his chest and between his forelegs was punctured and pulled away from the underlying pectoral muscles which were also severely damaged. After initial emergency treatment overnight, he arrived at Hall Veterinary Surgery for ongoing care, still suffering from shock and having difficulty breathing.

Over the next few days, Gov’nor responded to treatment for shock which included intravenous fluids and nasal oxygen therapy. To manage his pain, he received a constant infusion of pain relief in his drip as well as intravenous antibiotics as his bruised skin was a prime target for infection.

X-rays of Gov’nor’s chest and blood tests showed that the injuries were confined to the skin, however as the days passed, it became clear just how large the affected area of dead skin had become. All of the skin between his forelegs and also behind and in front of his elbows turned grey and smelt of dead tissue bereft of blood supply due to the severe trauma of the attack.

Gov’nor’s loving owners agonised over the decision whether to proceed with treatment to remove all the dead skin, given the severity of the damage, and concern about what Gov’nor was going through.

We talked about the amazing healing capacity of skin and that Gov’nor’s youth, general fitness and calm temperament would help him to recover and cope with the treatment of the huge wound. We all decided to give him a chance.

Dr Lesa anaesthetised Gov’nor and removed all of the dead tissue and cleaned the wound. There was no option to suture the remaining skin closed over such a large area of skin loss. So we applied sterile dressings to protect the healing granulation tissue underneath and continue pain and infection control.

This was the large, open wound left behind after surgically removing all of the dead skin and tissue on Gov'nor's chest.

Twice a week, for these last 2 months, Gov’nor has patiently complied with dressing changes and wound cleaning. He would shuffle out after each session sporting a new brightly coloured vest of bandages that held his dressings in place.

The colourful bandage vests help to hold his wound dressings in place.

It has been amazing to witness the speed with which his skin is covering over the massive wound. On the home stretch now, his loving family are seeing the fruits of their efforts and Gov’nor is nearly back to his old self again.

2 months later, Gov'nor is well and truly on his way to feeling like his old self again.

Snake Bites and Your Pet

Every year in Australia thousands of family pets are bitten by snakes, the types of snake vary depending on where in Australia the bite occurred. Here in Canberra the most common snakes we encounter are Brown Snakes followed by Tiger Snakes and less commonly Red-Bellied Black Snakes.

As snakes hibernate during the colder months the vast majority of snake bites take place in the Spring/Summer months. Snakes are commonly found in areas with long grass, rocks and other hiding holes, often near a fresh water source such as a creek or dam.

It is important to remember that most snakes will try to avoid you and your pets. However, whilst we humans may simply walk away from a snake, our pet’s are inquisitive, armed with natural hunting instincts and when given the chance, will harass snakes often resulting in snake bites.

What can I do to prevent a snake bite to my pet?

  • Avoid areas with grass any longer than ankle height
  • Always keep your dog on lead when walking
  • Do not let your dog investigate off path/in long grass
  • Keep your backyard tidy, mowed and remove any rubbish that would make a nice hiding spot for a snake
  • Consider building a cat enclosure for cats that like to venture outdoors

What are the signs of snake bites that I should be aware of?

There are several factors that may determine the reaction your pet may have to a snake bite. These can include the type of snake, where on the body your pet was bitten and how much venom was injected.

Signs and symptoms of snake bites vary but can often show some of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weakness
  • Collapse (can seem to ‘recover’ shortly after)
  • Twitching of the muscles
  • Hyper-salivation
  • Dilated pupils non-responsive to light

And in later stages:

  • Blood in urine
  • Paralysis

I think my pet has been bitten by a snake, what should I do?

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake you should keep them as quiet/still as possible whilst seeking immediate veterinary attention. The sooner your pet is treated the better their chances of survival.

Unless you are certain the snake is dead do not put yourself at risk trying to identify it.

Variations in colour of the Eastern Brown Snake.

What will the Vet do to treat my pet?

Once you arrive at the Vet they may recommend a series of tests to determine whether a snake bite has occurred.
After receiving confirmation of a snake bite your pet will be placed on intravenous fluids and possibly oxygen depending on their current condition.
Your vet will administer the appropriate anti venom to your pet slowly whilst intensive monitoring and supportive care continues.
Subject to your pets reaction to the anti venom occasionally more than one vial is needed.
Depending on the severity of your pets condition, intensive nursing, hospitalisation and supportive care such as IV fluids and oxygen may be necessary for a number of days whilst they recover.

What is my pet’s prognosis?

Approximately 80% of pets survive snake bites if treated quickly.
The survival rate of pets that are left untreated is much, much lower.

What can I do to remove a snake from my property?

If you see a snake do not try to catch or harm it. All Australian snakes are protected and you will expose yourself to unnecessary danger.

If you need a snake removed/relocated please phone:

Access Canberra Contact Centre on 132281.
or visit their website HERE for more information.

Heatstroke Awareness

Heatstroke of pets can occur quite quickly and is a result of exposure to high environmental temperatures or strenuous exercise. It is an acute, progressive, life-threatening emergency. Immediate cooling action is required to lower the pet’s body temperature as failure to do so may result in thermal injury to the pet’s organs.

Dogs that are especially prone to heatstroke include: overweight /
obese dogs; short muzzled dogs like bulldogs and pugs; dogs with laryngeal paralysis or cardiovascular disease. Older dogs or those with a dark or dense hair coat are also prone to heatstroke.


Dark or bright red tongue and gums
Heavy panting
Wobbly gait
And in severe cases, coma and death.

Pets should never be left in cars on hot days for any amount of time. For outdoor pets, access to clean water and shade at all times are essential.
Keep your pet’s coat short in Summer.
Exercise during the cooler parts of the day.


Dogs: Spray bottles with cool water jetted on the pet’s underside, paddle pools, keeping indoors during hot times of the day, ice treats like frozen kongs.
Birds: Frozen watermelon treats.
Rabbits: Frozen peas for rabbits to lie next to and nibble on.
Rats: Fill a small tub or container with water and then throw in some peas. They will get into the water and (depending on how deep it is) dive for the peas.

If signs of heatstroke are present, the pet should be immediately cooled and taken to a veterinarian for treatment.


Hall Veterinary Surgery will be closed on the two upcoming ACT public holidays.

Family & Community Day Monday, 25 September 2017
Labour Day Monday, 2 October 2017

We’ll reopen with normal business hours on each of the following Tuesdays. Enjoy your holiday time with your pet!

Patient Spotlight: Floyd the ‘Wonder-cat’

Floyd is an 18 year old Domestic Short Hair Cat with a lovely personality, he has lived his 18 years in the care of his dedicated owner Margaret, who has tended to all of his hunger needs!

Unfortunately, Floyd recently suffered from an Aortic Thromboembolisim. This is a serious and often fatal condition where a blood clot forms in the heart and moves down the aorta. As the clot forms it causes pain, decreasing pulses, cold limbs, loss of blood flow and hind leg paralysis. A very small 30-50% of cats will recover fully from this condition. Due to this, Floyd had become bedridden and unable to move his hind legs.

Luckily for Floyd, his lovely owner was more than dedicated to help him get through it.

Floyd was admitted to hospital every day whilst his owner was at work, each day he went through a rigorous routine of hourly massaging, physio and assisted stands. He was offered as much food as his heart desired, was brushed daily by our nurses and even had his own radio to listen to while spending his days in our cat ward!
Each night Floyd’s owner picked him up and continued his physio routine over night, turning him hourly and massaging his legs.

After 2 weeks of intensive physio we are so pleased to say that Floyd is making amazing progress!  He has regained some strength in his hind legs and is now able to stand and walk around with minimal assistance! Floyd’s road to recovery is a long one but without the wonderful dedication from Floyd’s owner Margaret, he certainly would not be where he is today.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Paralysis ticks have moved to Canberra!

Every year many companion pets die from tick paralysis. Until recently the risk of tick paralysis was confined to pets that visited the coast or contacted a tick brought back from the coast, for example in rugs or vegetation.

However, we are now seeing tick paralysis in pets whose owners have not recently travelled outside of the Canberra region.

Paralysis ticks appear to have developed the ability to survive the cooler, drier Canberra climate and whilst more prevalent from August to March and after heavy rain, ticks are a risk to pets all year round.

Paralysis ticks are capable of killing a pet within three to four days of attaching, so don’t delay.

Early signs include tiredness, staggering, vomiting, breathing difficulty, progressing to paralysis. The signs may continue to worsen even after the tick is removed.

Although most pets treated for tick paralysis survive, prevention is much safer and far less expensive. Tick prevention products vary between dogs and cats. They also vary in efficacy as well as length of protection. Please talk with our staff about the most suitable tick protection for your pet.

Not all ticks are dangerous. Bush ticks are occasionally seen locally but do not cause illness. The most effective action is, if you find a tick on your pet, bring it with you to the vet to be identified.




Newer products in the form of chewable tablets, such as NexGard and Bravecto are providing effective tick protection for dogs. The rinses and top spots that we previously used for dogs are less effective and can be toxic to cats that groom or have close physical contact with recently treated dog.

For cats, prevention options are more limited and we recommend Frontline® spray, although the Frontline® Plus top spot or Seresto flea collars may provide some protection.


This is recommended even in pets receiving tick prevention treatment as none are 100% reliable. The ticks may attach anywhere but are more often found on the front half of the body.


Trimming the hair assists in searching for ticks. Be prepared, if your pet has a long coat and presents to us with suspected tick toxicity, we may want to shave their entire coat to aid the tick search.

If symptoms of tick toxicity are noticed, a thorough search of the animal should be made and a veterinarian contacted immediately. Do not offer food or water to animals suffering from paralysis as their inability to swallow may cause an aspiration pneumonia.

Ticks can be very hard to find, so don’t rule out tick paralysis if you cannot find one. There may also be more than one tick on the pet. If a tick is found on a pet which is not exhibiting signs, remove the tick by firmly grasping the tick close to the skin and plucking it off. Keep searching and remove any other ticks.

So long as signs do not develop, there is the option to keep your pet quiet and cool for 24 hours. Please keep the tick in case it is required for identification.

If you are at all uncertain, call for an appointment and bring your pet in for a vet check. Depending on the case, we may recommend home monitoring, or monitoring for signs in hospital
+/- treatment with anti-serum.


Veterinary treatment of tick paralysis includes:

  • Thorough searching and removal of all ticks. This may require clipping the coat.
  • Application of a tickicidal wash or spray.
  • Administration of tick anti-serum.
  • Oxygen supplementation if necessary which may require transfer to an emergency centre for overnight monitoring or ventilation.
  • Maintaining hydration using intravenous fluid treatment, until the pet is able to swallow and therefore eat and drink again.
  • Keeping the pet cool, relaxed and comfortable


Signs of tick paralysis vary depending on the length of time the tick has been on the animal, as well as the potency of the toxin, which can vary between ticks.

Signs include:

  • A change in vocalisation
  • Increased or laboured breathing
  • Coughing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Weakness in the hind legs, which typically progresses to involve the forelimbs


The toxin produced by paralysis ticks is very potent. Even when the tick is removed, most animals get worse before they get better. This is because the toxin already in the animal’s body continues to circulate and attaches to nerves for a period of time. Remove food and water as your pet’s ability to swallow may be compromised, putting your pet at risk of inhaling food and developing aspiration pneumonia.