As many regions in Australia enter the high-risk months for paralysis ticks, experts are calling on dog owners to take urgent preventative action now to reduce the risk of deadly tick paralysis.
Advocating for compliance change, Dr Rob Webster, a member of the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel (consisting of nine veterinary and scientific experts) and a specialist in Veterinary Emergency Medicine and Critical Care says, “Quite simply, paralysis ticks can kill. I am urging dog owners to be compliant, not complacent.”
Research shows that an estimated 3.84 million households own a dog. Of those that live in a paralysis tick area, less than half (48%) are compliant and give tick control products at the correct intervals and right frequency, as often as required for protection.
While those living outside a paralysis tick area, the compliance to use tick control at the correct intervals and right frequency is even lower at just 30%.
Dogs Can Die From Tick Paralysis
Dr Webster continued, “Our goal as a panel, and as veterinarians in general is really clear. We do not want to see dogs die needlessly from tick paralysis. Effective tick control products are available but these only work when given, and this is where compliance is so important. As paralysis ticks can be found all year round, and not just in summer, it is critical for dog owners to increase compliance and prevent cases from happening in the first place.”
With community restrictions reducing, and local travel on the rise, the message from the panel is to treat now before travelling.
“Parks and bushland are all hotspots for the paralysis tick so even if you don’t live in a zone, make sure your dog is protected,” concluded Dr Webster.
About paralysis ticks
Paralysis ticks are parasites that live by feeding off the blood of mammals such as dogs and are found along most of the eastern seaboard of Australia.
As the ticks feed, they inject a neurotoxin which can cause signs of paralysis. Most cases of tick paralysis occur in the period from spring to autumn, coinciding with the peak number of adult ticks, however cases are seen throughout the year.
Tips for dog owners on how to prevent tick paralysis
- Use an effective tick control product all year round, such as a tasty once-a-month NexGard® or NexGard SPECTRA® chew.
- Search your dog daily for ticks.
- Reduce exposure to ticks in the home environment by keeping lawns trimmed and removing leaf litter.
- If you find a paralysis tick on your pet, remove it immediately, and seek veterinary attention.
It is important to use a tick control product like NexGard® or NexGard SPECTRA® even if your dog has suffered from tick paralysis in the past, as previous exposure or treatment does not provide protection, and there is no vaccine against tick paralysis.
For more information on how to protect dogs from ticks, fleas, mites, heartworm and intestinal worms visit nexgard.com.au.
What measures do you put in place to prevent paralysis ticks from attacking your dog? Tell us in the comments below.