Ticks are not insects like fleas, flies and lice, but are arachnids like mites and spiders. There are approximately 850 species of ticks worldwide. The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, will also transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and tick-borne typhus to humans. The Deer, Blacklegged, and Western blacklegged tick, carry Lyme Disease. Ixodes holocycles, or the paralysis tick, is the most severe tick for a cat.
Lyhmes Disease: Symptoms include lack of appetite, listlessness, fever, and swollen joints. Without proper attention the disease can spread to the kidneys and heart.
Paralysis Tick: These ticks have the ability to kill your cat or dog in 2 to 3 days. The toxin injected by the engorging female tick causes a paralysis of all body muscles and severe breathing problems, resulting in death if not treated. You will see an ascending flaccid paralysis from the hind-legs forward. The dog or cat may be observed to be "wobbly" in the back legs and then become completely paralyzed over the next 12 to 36 hours. The second main symptom is a harsh or raspy breathing sound with gagging and sometimes salivation. This is due to oedema or congestion of the lungs and throat. Both these symptoms will cause death if left untreated.
Other symptoms include, loss of swallow reflex, vomiting, high blood pressure and an inability to urinate. Secondary pneumonias can occur.
Ticks live and breed in the cooler areas, under bushes, in sheds, concrete cracks along the side of the house. The only way to reduce numbers is to regularly spray these areas each 2 weeks until tick numbers are severely reduced. The pruning of bushes from the ground will also help. Most of the topical treatments will also prevent or kill ticks, but again this requires getting somewhat close to the ferals.
There is now a vaccine for Lyme Disease. The first dose usually requires two visits to the Vet. After that, a booster is given every year. Not included in regular vaccines, probably not practical for ferals due to cost.
Of paralysis tick--The main treatment is a tick antiserum. As this prevents further symptoms and does not reverse what has already happened but the sooner it is administered the better. Other supportive therapy for shock, helping respiration, tranquillization and decreasing blood pressure are also administered.