Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Alternative Animal Care - Paralysis Ticks

This is Rocket, our mini-foxie cross Jack Russell terrier.  He's a small dog, and only about 8 months old now.  Recently, Rocket got a paralysis tick on his neck.  By the time we noticed it, Rocket was already ill - ears down, irregular breathing, no appetite or thirst and he was having difficulty with balance and mobility.

The tick was removed swiftly, without squeezing.  By squeezing the tick, more neurotoxins are released into the host animal, so it is very important to not squeeze the body of the tick.  People often panic about the head being removed, or not, but from what I have read this is not the most important factor to consider.

We immediately began treatment with a locally made homeopathic blend for paralysis tick bite containing lathyrus sativus, ledum, hypericum, hydrastis aconite and tick nosode.  This remedy cost under $20 and the dose is 2 drops every 15 mins for 3 hours, then hourly, then 3 times a day as needed.  One bottle is more than ample to treat any size animal through a paralysis tick crisis.

We also gave him 1ml (500mg) shots of liquid Vitamin C.  We bought this from the local feed store for under $15 (we live in a rural area, in a city perhaps a pet shop or vet clinic would stock this product).  The syringes and needles are available from the same stores and cost under a dollar.  It isn't hard to inject this product, but do keep in mind that it's highly acidic and therefore painful.  We gave injections every hour for awhile, and then increased duration between shots down to twice a day once Rocket seemed quite well again.  Liquid Vitamin C is also an effective first aid treatment for snake bites.

For over 48 hours Rocket was hardly moving at all and had laboured breathing.  He was shivering and shaking due to the effects of the toxins on his nervous system.  He could not drink and we only put a little water or remedy on his lips and gums in case he inhaled the liquid due to internal paralysis.  On the third day, Rocket began to drink a little, but could not hold any water down until that evening.  Everyone kept asking us if we should take him to the vet, but we believed that the homeopathic treatment, combined with the vitamin C, would be successful.  We kept him cool and quiet and paid attention to his needs almost around the clock.

After the third day of treatment, Rocket was completely his usual self.  It was hard to believe how sick he had been.  We have been trying to keep him quiet due to the stress the toxins have had on his body, but he's living true to his breeding, name and personality - tearing about like a little rocket!

Now we are giving Rocket his homeopathic immunisation - a combination including Ixodes holo exactly as prescribed (3 drops every 2 months) and we are checking him for ticks at least once daily.

I'm sharing this story for other animal owners who want to have inexpensive, natural treatments at hand for tick paralysis, a condition which affects many thousands of pets and smaller farm animals (especially calves, foals and goat kids) in Australia every year.  There are commercial tick prevention treatments and antiserums, which are accessible through your local vet clinic.  These can be toxic and expensive.  For more information about paralysis ticks, including images, see this web page.  To access homeopathic preventative and treatment as I've descried here, seek out a local animal homeopath.

My local Animal Homeopath is:
Dina Glass
07 40976366

Dina does mail order.


africanaussie said...

That is good information - we had a cat bitten by a paralysis tick and it cost hundreds to treat her. We don't have any animals now as we can't where we live, but it is nice to know more natural treatment is available..

farmer_liz said...

Thanks Bel! Do you have any other advice on natural dog care? I hate giving ours so many worm tablets and flea treatments. I'm sure there is a better way, but I don't want to harm my dogs while I'm trying to find it. I have been following your cow advice so far, and read Natural Cattle Care, it was great, I wish there was an equivalent for dogs!

Leeandra said...

Oh Bel I am so glad to hear that Rocket was ok! We had a dalmation that got a tick whilst we were on holidays. Our neighbours were looking after him and took him to the vet. It saved his life, thankfully, but cost us over $700 and heaps of long distance worrying! How wonderful that there is a natural alternative for this troublesome pest that is far more affordable and not poisoning your animal and environment. Thank you for sharing with us! :)

Bel said...

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Liz, we feed our dog mostly raw meat, bones and some organ meat. This is what a dog would naturally eat in the wild. He does sneak the cat's bit of raw milk and kids' leftovers, eats bits of fruit etc. I think that's okay as a small bred dog is as likely to scavange as hunt (thinking back to recreating a natural diet). We don't feed him tinned food and he rarely has packaged dry 'kibble' type food (but we do have some as a standby).

For worm prevention with the horses and cattle I use diatomaceous earth. I have heard of people using this for cats, dogs and humans and I would too, if I felt it necessary. I dose for about 4 days around the full moon each month.

Sulphur powder is an often-used natural remedy for fleas and ticks as well - a very small amount in their food, or dusted onto their coat. I have not used this on small animals.

There are also homeopathic flea and worm treatments available.

It takes a lot of courage and patience to take responsibility for our animals' health care. In my experience so far, feed them the best food you can afford. Combine this clean diet with minerals and basic supplements as required (will take some research) to build a healthy immune system. This results in a strong animal who should not cost you much in vet bills (if anything) and enjoys a long life.

For us this has worked so far with our young animals. We have had limited success with older animals who come to us in poor condition (eg: rescue horses). Time will tell if we are on the right track!

I am not saying I would never use a vet or conventional treatments. I would use whatever is required to keep my animals comfortable and healthy. But my first choices will be prevention (eg: diet) and natural remedies - just as we use for our human family. :)

baringapark said...

Great to hear this works. I always have Vit C on hand for snake bite.

gullygunyah said...

Well it's happened to me now. My Aldi went lame yesterday and I quickly searched and found the tick.
But I didn't dare risk self treatment at this late stage.I took her to the vet and they were anxious to quote upfront for treatment. They came up with 800-1000+ dollars at which I said I'll have to take her home and hope for the best.
Then they suggested leaving her for treatment for the day and then take her home. That still resulted in a bill of 600 dollars. But I figure gives her a better chance.
A big chunk of that was 258 dollars for tick anti-serum.
I remembered seeing your article but I honestly wouldn't have had time to track down those ingredients.
I hate having to use vets but I also love my animals.
I've had ticks on my cattle dogs before and removed them no problem with no side effects. Someone once told me the cattle dogs are more hardy against them. As Aldi isn't a pure cattledog she perhaps was less resistant.
It may pay to have those items you suggested in advance if you live in a high tick incedence area.
Ironically she didn't get the tick at our bush property but in the bush near a local park in Brisbane.
Expensive walk in the park for me.

Bel said...

gg, I am sorry to hear about your dog Aldi! I hope the treatment is successful. You can get Vit C liquid from most stock feed places and even perhaps the vet has it - especially an equine vet.
If you can't get the specific paralysis tick remedy, Ledum is an excellent one on its own, and some rescue remedy for the stress. Keep your pet in a cool, dark place. Blessings, Bel

farmer_liz said...

Hi Bel, I only just came back to this and saw your lovely reply, thanks for all the advice. Would you believe I'm still trying to source diatomeceous earth!? most stock feed places around here have never heard of it. I've stuck at it though, and think I'm onto a lead now, so I hope its coming to our property soon! I also found out that Pat Coleby has written a book on dog/pet care, so I bought that, and its much the same as the cattle book that you recommended. I'll be feeding them sulphur, kelp and dolomite (in very small amounts) and getting some vitamin C, B12 and rescue remedy for the doggy "first aid kit". She recommends giving these immediately, even if you intend to take the animal to the vet as well. But like you said, for us, that's a last resort, better to feed the dogs well. Cheers, Liz PS I wish you would post more often you are so knowledgeable!

Bel said...

Hey farmer liz! Have you tried to google for DE in your state, and then ask the wholesaler who is the local retailer? I'm not sure where you are...

I am going to chase down that Pat Coleby book, sounds like a good one to have!

Thanks for your kind words. I just like sharing information that works, because sometimes it's not easy to research these things for ourselves. It's great to hear from others actually trying and doing these things in similar conditions to ours - I really value that anecdotal advice myself! I am glad my writing is useful to you - I'm just passing it on! x

farmer_liz said...

If only it was that simple to find DE! I'm in the South Burnett, QLD, and we have a low grade mine at Maidenwell, very close to me, but its closed. The closest good quality mine seems to be near Gatton, but none of the stock feed stores up here stock their product. So I may need to go for a drive and pick up a pallet from the mine! Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I got the book from http://www.greenpet.com.au/ and it arrived about 3 days after I ordered it, so they were very good.

Bel said...

How strange, Liz! Surely one of your feed places can get it through one of their wholesalers? Seems like not the best service...

It is mined west of me, but I think it's packed and sent south, and then back up here again. Like our fresh produce and so many other FNQ products - MAD.

farmer_liz said...

Hi Bel, not sure if you're following my blog, just wanted to let you know that I reviewed Pat Coleby's book on pet care. http://eight-acres.blogspot.com/2011/12/healthy-chemical-free-dogs.html

My dogs are now chemical free :)

Anonymous said...

People sourcing DE, it is available from The Completely Natural Pet Store in Keperra, QLD. 07 3855 3555.

Did you give the 1ml vitamin C injections intra-muscularly?

Bel said...

Leenie, subcutaneous injection of vit C seems to give the least discomfort.

Sheree said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
farmer_liz said...

Hi Bel, back again, we have paralysis ticks on our new property, have had one calf die, and another is recovering. Just wondered if the remedy you suggested would be suitable for cattle too. Any other advice for paralysis ticks in cattle? Pat seems to think that if they're getting enough sulphur they'll be ok, and we have put out plenty of mineral lick for them since they came to our property (and they are improving in condition, so maybe they will get better with the ticks). Anyway, just thought I'd ask if you had any ideas. Cheers, Liz

Bel said...

Liz, that is sad that you lost a calf. They are of course more at risk due to their smaller size. If you are hand raising them, check them for ticks daily. If they're with their herd in the paddock or not tame, this is harder to do.
Yes, you can use the homeopathics on humans even - all animals. We have used Vit C injection on calves down with ticks. Remove the ticks, keep them cool and comfortable, dry if possible in the rain, give them molasses in water for energy and small amounts of feed. Wipe them over with neem oil to deter pests, and any other anti-bug essential oils etc you want to mix up and get onto them while they're available. Give Vit C shots 4 times a day if you can, checking them each time and giving them a drink, making sure they're up on their breast bone and not on their side, rotating their legs to the other side if you can - all those things we do for a 'down' animal...
Yes, hopefully they will find the balance with the minerals freely available. I remember some old horses we got seemed to consume the stuff by the wheelbarrow load, till one day they just calmed down to taking minerals only on occasion... So they do find that balance themselves.

skippy mama said...

Diatomaceous Earth can also be bought at Mitre 10, pool shops, anywhere that sells filter medium, and for a big box it is about $20? I scatter it on wooden floors in houses where the fleas are rife, but how do you worm with it please Belinda?

Bel said...

Hi Skippy!

I don't always use it, but particularly in our wet season I give some DE mixed into feed for about 4 days around the full moon. There's lots of information online now about dosage and effectiveness of using DE as a wormer.

Cairns Vet said...

Glad Rocket was OK.
Be aware that many animals survive tick paralysis without treatment.
Unfortunately many animals die too.

Tick serum has a direct and measurable effect on tick venom. It certainly can have side effects but it does dramatically improve the survival rate vs no treatment.

Vitamin C and a homeopathic remedy don't have a measurable effect on tick paralysis. You might not be doing any harm giving it but don't expect improved outcomes over doing nothing.

I'd hate people to think that vitamin C is an adequate treatment for tick paralysis - it doesn't matter how cheap it is, that doesn't make it effective. Injecting a painful and ineffective drug hourly to a dog in a tick crisis isn't doing them any favors at all - the less you mess with them, the better.

Pets can die even if they are treated but if your pet is sick with tick paralysis it is a very serious illness and early treatment is the best thing you can do.

Really glad rocket was OK! Ticks are terrible!

Bel said...

Hello 'Cairns Vet' and thank you for taking the time to comment. I am surprised at your stance on Vit C and homeopathics as both are used - and proven - widely in farming (conventional and the ever-growing organic and biodynamic types) locally.

Up here on the Tablelands, whole herds of dairy cattle (and other animals on these farms) are treated with homeopathics, herbal remedies and, if in crisis, Vitamin C.

Nutritional therapy is widely used to correct all kinds of illnesses and imbalnces and in our experience it is equally effective in a crisis situation. This is true for both humans and animals.

Since you advertise yourselves as being a 'progressive' practice, I recommend you look into some alternatives in animal care and keep an open mind about it. These methods are working for many farms and households and there is a high demand for more information, locally-available products and non-chemical solutions.

farmer_liz said...

well answered Bel, I agree. Thanks so much for writing about these issues so that we can learn what the "experts" don't want us to know. Our affected calf recovered from tick paralysis with just vit C, B12 and lots of attention, tick serum is not always a practical solution for farmers!

Dina Glass said...

Hi Bel,I have just returned from 2 mths in germany and Was just looking at my new website, when I saw your blog. Thankyou for recommending my Remedies. In answer to Farmer lizs question about cattle, these pilules can be put into water troughs and will do the same job, no matter how many animals drink from the trough. Love your blogs, keep up the good work. Blessing s Dina.

peta said...

Hi Bel!

Your post helped me save my beloved cat, Pickles!

I found the lack of info on Alternative Tick Treatment shocking.

I have created a blog entry on my experience treating Pickles and thought other people who come to your site would love to read it, instead of the typical 'Go to your vet' answer!

Thank you so much for your help!

Here is the URL:


peta said...

Hi Bel,

This post is one of the reasons my Pickles is still alive today. Thank you so much.

As there is a lack of alternative Tick treatment online, I have also made a blog story about Pickles Tick journey.

The URL is below:


I have a link to Rocket's story on my blog as well.

If you could share this, I'd be very grateful!

Thank you again!


Ross McPherson said...

I just lost a 5 month old puppy to tick poisoning and it cost me $1700 in vet fees plus broken heart. I wanted to stay with him during treatment at the verterinary hospital, however long it took. In fact a 15 minute visit by me saw improvements in the pup's breathing and general comfort. However, the vet wouldn't let me stay longer. I had to leave the pup there or take him home. The vet said he would die if I took him home. I knew in my heart of hearts he would die if I didn't but I took the vet's advice just in case he knew what he was talking about. The pup needed both medical help and love. Either one by itself wasn't going to save him. Damn vets, damn blinkered stupidity, and damn ticks.

Ross McPherson said...

I just lot a 5 month old pup to tick poisoning and it cost me $1600 and a broken heart. I wanted to stay with him during treatment at the veterinary hospital however long it took. In fact the pup's breathing and general comfort improved when I visited him for 15 minutes. However the vet said I had to leave him there or take him home. He said he would certainly die if I took him home. I knew in my heart of hearts he would die if I left him there. He need both medical help and love. I left him there. Damn vets, damn blinkered stupidity, and damn ticks. Bye Biggles. Luv u always.

Bel said...

Ross, so sad that Biggles died from a tick. Sorry to hear that you had to leave him there at the vet's. We found that Rocket wanted to be in a cool, dark place (on the hard tiles) and alone and quiet. But we were able to reassure him often that we were here loving him.
It's true that even with fast and efficient natural treatment, some animals will still die from tick paralysis. The same as with conventional treatment.
Know that you did your best and Biggles loved you back a thousandfold.

Terri Hitchen said...

Hi its a bit late now in Feb 2016 but I wanted to tell Ross that my vet also pressured me to leave my staffy x for $1000 by virtually saying if i took her home and she got sicker then it would be too late for the vet to save her. I had read Bels Blog and the main thing was i simply did not have $1000 to give them. They also offerred the 600 for the day only, with constant supervision while she recovered in a cage. I told them I can supervise and monitor her condition and took her home. After an exhausting internet search and many messages left, I finally located "THE PET PRACTICIONER" Leanne Wilson, a homeopath on other side of sydney who made up the concotion that bel wrote of. She also made another to use when Chilli(the staffy) started getting better (like a detox) Chilli was very very sick. But I followed Bels instructions regards solids and liquids and put drops in the water or food given 4 x day. 3 days later she got up from floor and walked to her own feed and water bowl. She managed stairs down to yard to toilet and back up. Another 2-3 days of detox remedy and she was jumping onto lounge and onto my high bed! She was like a puppy again. Incredible. If I was not poor I may have been persuaded too Ross, especially if she was younger and had not had ticks before!