Veterinary and scientific experts reach a consensus on guidelines for the management, treatment and prevention of tick paralysis in pets

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Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel
From left to right: a brown dog tick; the eastern paralysis tick; and a bush tick.

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim.

The Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel supports the use of effective tick control products all year round 

As Australia is in the high-risk months for paralysis ticks, the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel—a panel of nine veterinary and scientific experts—are supporting vets with practical guidelines on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of tick paralysis. 

In an Australian-first, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, manufacturer of NexGard® and NexGard SPECTRA®, led the formation of the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel in 2016. The panel met again in 2019 to review the latest science on tick paralysis. Despite significant advances in our understanding of paralysis ticks and the disease they cause, the panel agreed there remains much that is still unknown. 

To address some of these unknowns, members of the panel were invited to apply for research funding under the Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health ‘Paralysis Tick Research and Innovation Grants’. By partnering with experts in the field, these grants continue Boehringer Ingelheim’s commitment to tick research in Australia and aim to support breakthrough research that furthers the understanding of paralysis ticks and associated disease in companion animals. Projects to the value of more than $55,000 have been funded in 2020, including studies to determine optimal ancillary treatments for dogs with tick paralysis and research into the distribution of tick toxin in animal tissues.

For vets, the panel has produced practical and user-friendly guidelines based on information sourced from peer-reviewed publications, reported experiences, and expert opinions. In addition, the latest guidelines incorporate a critical care section and linked online videos which demonstrate some important techniques used in managing patients with tick paralysis. The resulting guidelines aim to:

1. Provide a foundation for consistent management of tick paralysis of pets.

2. Deliver better outcomes for the patients and their owners.

3. Assist veterinarians who are unfamiliar with treating tick paralysis.

4. Establish ‘best practice’ when managing tick paralysis.

5. Upgrade practice standards where applicable and appropriate.

Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel

“The data shows that since the introduction of the isoxazoline class of parasiticides, there has been a decrease in cases of tick paralysis up and down the east coast. These products are safe and effective, so we are urging pet owners to be compliant, not complacent, and use an effective tick control product such as NexGard® or NexGard SPECTRA® year-round in these areas,” said Dr Rob Webster, a member of the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel and a specialist in Veterinary Emergency Medicine and Critical Care at Animal Emergency Service in Queensland.  

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 if you are travelling to one of these areas, make sure your dog is protected,” concluded Dr Webster.

To download a copy of the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel guidelines, visit the new Tick Resource Hub on Animal Health Academy
(www.animalhealthacademy.com.au). It contains up to date information on common tick species, an interactive tick identification service and extensive tick paralysis management resources. If registering for the first time, use the access code myAcademy. 

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