Educating vets about tick paralysis

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Copyright: peterwaters / 123RF Stock Photo

As Australia enters the deadly tick season, new guidelines have been released to help support veterinary professionals across Australia in diagnosing, treating, managing and preventing Australian tick paralysis in dogs and cats.

The guidelines, an initiative of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health (previously Merial Australia), have been created by a panel of experts called the Australian Tick Paralysis Advisory Panel.

The panel was formed in 2016 and the guidelines are based on information from peer-reviewed publications, expert insights and reported experiences.

They ultimately aim to deliver better outcomes for patients and their owners by providing especially those veterinarians new to treating Australian tick paralysis with the most up-to-date information on how to best manage their patients for better outcomes.

Dr Rob Webster, a registered veterinary specialist in emergency medicine and critical care, the director of the Animal Emergency Service and a member of the Australian Tick Paralysis Advisory Panel, said, “I developed an interest in managing severe tick paralysis cases early in my career after I began to recognise a high number of fatalities in pets affected by tick paralysis.

“This was despite the fact that the attending vet had, at the time, administered what would be considered appropriate treatment. It seemed to me that there was still much to be learned and shared about this potentially fatal disease.

Dr Webster continued: “We hope these guidelines, developed by the Australian Tick Paralysis Advisory Panel will help vets, especially in areas with a high prevalence of paralysis ticks, prevent the needless suffering and fatalities of beloved family pets.

“As a vet, with dogs of my own, I know as well as anyone just how important it is to check our pets for ticks every day, and not just during the tick season of September to April.”

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