Dog owners warned about paralysis ticks

paralysis ticks
Dr Ben Brown checking for tick paralysis

With Australia’s peak paralysis tick season in full swing, some of Australia’s leading emergency veterinarians have issued a strong warning to dog owners—protect your pet against tick paralysis, a preventable disease, or face the deadly consequences.

Director and veterinary specialist at the Animal Emergency Service in Queensland, Dr Rob Webster, said: “Tick paralysis is a preventable disease. When we lose dogs, a terrible outcome for all involved, we are losing dogs that could have been saved by administering a long-lasting paralysis tick treatment.

“Once the paralysis from a tick bite has taken hold, even the very best we can do using tick anti-serum and supportive care is going to save eight out of 10 patients. This leaves a large number of dog owners in the dreadful position where they essentially watch their dog die from a preventable disease.”

Dr Webster added that paralysis tick season is a very difficult time for veterinarians as it’s a devastating disease to try and treat. He is urging dog owners to proactively talk to their local vet about long-lasting preventative medication against paralysis ticks.

“We live in a country which has access to the best preventative treatments for paralysis ticks for dogs, and knowledge on how to conduct effective daily searches on dogs for these nasty critters is readily accessible. Put simply, there is no excuse for dog owners to put their pet in a situation where they suffer respiratory failure and die from suffocation because they can’t breathe and they inhale their own vomit.”

A recent survey commissioned by makers of paralysis tick treatment Bravecto reveals over a quarter of Aussie dog owners mistakenly believe death is not a possible outcome of a paralysis tick bite. Worryingly, over one-third of dogs are not protected by a paralysis tick treatment.

Sydney Animal Hospitals director Dr Ben Brown is already treating paralysis tick cases and has joined Dr Webster in urging dog owners to prioritise prevention, avoiding an expensive and sometimes a heartbreaking trip to the vet.

Dogs should be inspected daily for paralysis ticks and if a tick is found, it needs to be removed immediately with fingernails, tweezers or a tick-removing device. After removal of the tick, if owners are unsure as to whether their dog is showing any symptoms of tick paralysis, they need to contact their local vet immediately.


  1. Note to Editor: Peak paralysis tick season is Spring in Australia, it actually starts in mid Winter and in many places is over by Christmas. These articles are always posted too late in the media and it gives owners the incorrect impression that Summer is tick season. Inadvertently, the lateness of these articles contribute to the deaths of animals during the Spring period because owners do not think they need control at that time. Note that in some areas tick season is year round.


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