Ixodus holocylus. Sounds like a spell out of a Harry Potter movie, doesn’t it? It can have the same effects of a spell, albeit not a positive one.
Paralysis ticks (scientifically named Ixodus holocylus), as their name suggests, are a nuisance to deal with. This is mainly because once found, they refuse to leave without putting up a fight. They’re known for attacking and nesting in animal fur so if you have pets at home, they can be difficult to deal with.
Unfortunately, they’re native to Australia and aren’t known to be found anywhere else in the world. This is because they thrive in Australian temperatures.
The Vicious Cycle of a Paralysing Critter
Paralysis ticks are small in size, similar to head lice but their shape is like that of a beetle or ladybug. Different breeds have different shapes but all of them have a same size, if not the same features.
They may be small, however, they are prolific breeders. One female parasite can lay up to 3,000 eggs that hatch within a short amount of time. Once these eggs hatch, they cling onto nearby vegetation and search for a suitable host. They then move from host to host until they find one they can leech off.
Once this happens, they start laying eggs of their own and the cycle continues.
These critters are not only a nuisance, they are deadly as well. Once they attach themselves to the skin, removing them becomes extremely difficult. Once they are pulled out, they leave behind wounds that are not only painful but take up to weeks to heal.
Have an expert answer your question about paralysis ticks
How Can you Identify One in Your Pet’s Fur?
Most paralysis ticks are found near the neck and head. Checking these areas can help identify the problem. However, they can hide behind the ears and between the forehead and nose as well. This is especially true for pets that have long hair. Dogs are more vulnerable to paralysis ticks more so than cats. However, cats are also victims, especially if they have long, thick fur.
It’s because of your pet’s thick, long fur that these parasites can go unnoticed. While regular fleas can be found easily, paralysis ticks like to camouflage themselves, only manifesting when they are looked for.
The Signs of Tick Poisoning
As it feeds on its host, the paralysis tick injects a toxic venom into the body. Cats show more resistance to the venom but if they are sensitive, they will have similar problems as with infected dogs.
Unfortunately, increased body temperature and humidity can make the symptoms worse.
A few signs of tick poisoning include:
- Change in voice
- Breathing problems
- Wheezing/coughing/sneezing (This is for shorthaired breeds and is a sign of danger)
- Loud grunting sounds
Signs that the poisoning has become worse include:
- Breathing problems that keep getting worse
- Standing and walking becomes increasingly difficult
- The gums become blue and cold; death follows quickly
It’s better to take preventive measures so that your pet does not become infected. Checking their fur every night helps. iIf you notice your pet becoming increasingly irritated, take them to a vet to find out.
Removing paralysis ticks does not have to be as difficult of a task as it seems. Calling a pest control service can help you remove these parasites from your home before the problem worsens or starts again.