The second annual National Tick Awareness Month for Pets has launched, with an aim to increase education and awareness about the dangers of paralysis ticks.

The initiative by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is supported by Dr Rob Webster, a member of the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel, who says that tick paralysis is a preventable condition.

“We need to get that message out there to dog owners. Quite simply, the risk of not being protected against paralysis ticks all year-round is a matter of life or death.”

The panel is a group of veterinary and scientific experts who convene to review the latest scientific information regarding the prevention and management of tick paralysis to provide guidance and recommendations to vets and pet owners.   

Three simple strategies are recommended by the panel: use of use of an effective tick preventative product year-round, daily tick searching, and reducing potential exposure to ticks in the environment. 

The panel found that tick prevention only during the warmer months is not enough.

“Tick paralysis can be fatal. I’ve seen too many cases in my clinic that could have been prevented. This is why it is so important for pet owners to be able to recognise the signs and even more importantly, to be protecting their pets with an effective tick control product.”

Dr Ellie Leister, a specialist in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and a member of the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel, released research last year highlighting the effectiveness of modern tick control products in preventing tick paralysis.

The research demonstrated a 50 per cent reduction in cases of tick paralysis since the 2015 launch of parasiticides of the isoxazoline class. Despite this knowledge and the availability of effective products, research shows that only 48 per cent of dogs living in paralysis tick areas are on prevention. A drop of five per cent in the past two years.

Advice for vets on the management of a complicated patient, an approach to ongoing monitoring of tick paralysis cases, and a diagnostic approach to suspected tick paralysis cases, can be found in the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel guidelines.

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