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Paralysis Tick

1. Check if your pet is at risk from paralysis ticks:

  • The paralysis tick (Ixodesholocyclus) is generally found on the eastern seaboard, from North Queensland down to Victoria, but can be found in inland pockets too. Native animals maintain the tick population in local scrub and bushland, and can also bring ticks into your yard while foraging at night if you live near bushland. Ticks
  • Ticks attach to any moving object that brush past them whilst they are on the leaves of shrubs and bushes.
  • Many pets that are taken for holidays to the coast end up at the local vet clinic with tick paralysis, as the owners have not planned ahead and started their pet on a tick-control product at least a week prior to leaving home. Tick For Dog
  • Even if you take your dog for day trips which could involve walking along bush or fire trails, including scrubby beach-access tracks, they are at risk from ticks attaching. They should be receiving a tick-control product right through the tick season - early to late spring through to mid autumn, to be safe. And don’t forget those daily tick searches (more below)!
  • If moving to a new area, check with the local vet if paralysis ticks are present in the region.

2. Minimise your pet’s exposure to paralysis ticks:

  • Conduct daily tick searches and remove any ticks found, as no product provides 100% protection from ticks
  • Keep your dog’s coat short to make tick searches easier
  • Keep pets away from bushy areas and pathways; keep lawns short
  • Avoid your pet contacting stray animals and wildlife which may carry ticks
  • Start your pets on a tick-control product immediately - and preferably a few weeks before tick season or travelling to a tick area.

3. Choose the best tick-control product for your pet

There are a number of great tick-control products available these days, from budget tick collars and rinse options right through to oral chews and spot-ons that can cover your pet for ticks as well as fleas and other nasties.

Below is a summary of the main tick products available - with handy ‘best points’, and ‘watch out for’ and ‘budget’ /price indicator points to help you choose the product that best suits your pet and lifestyle.

Tick Twister Tick Key

All pet owners who live or holiday in a tick area should carry a tick hook or tick key to easily remove any ticks found on their pet.

Oral products can be a good option for dogs that swim regularly as there are no restrictions for swimming or bathing after treatment; also good for any dogs that have experienced skin reactions to topical products in the past. These may also be a good choice for households where owners and children have sensitive skin that may react to topical pet products.

Best points:

  • Once a month tasty chew
  • Kills fleas already on the dog within 8 hours
  • Kills ticks as well as fleas
  • Safe in dogs from 8 weeks old or 2kg bodyweight

Watch out for:

  • Not for use in cats
  • Ensure entire dose is consumed or you must redose
  • Not tested in breeding animals

Budget: $ 39.11 To $ 156.46


Best points:

  • Tasty chew for flea and tick control
  • Once every 4 months dosing for paralysis tick control (once every 3 months for flea control)
  • Kills ticks within 24 hours
  • Safe for puppies from 8 weeks old
  • Can be used in pregnant, lactating and breeding dogs

Watch out for:

  • Not for use in cats
  • Should be given with food to improve absorption
  • Ensure entire dose is consumed or you must redose

Budget: $ 38.45 To $ 156.46

Topical spot-on and spray products are a great choice for dogs that tend to vomit after oral medications.

Best points:

  • Spot-on which repels and kills fleas and ticks
  • Apply every 2 weeks for paralysis tick control (apply once a month for flea control only)
  • Starts killing ticks within 24 hours
  • also kills mosquitoes, stable flies, sandflies
  • safe for puppies from 7 weeks old
  • can be used on pregnant and lactating bitches

Watch out for:

  • Not for use in cats - toxic to cats; ensure cohabiting cats do not lick the product off your dog
  • Advantix iswaterfast (swimming, bathing, rain exposure). However, if washing your dog during use of this product, Bayer advises that a soap-free shampoo be used, no less than 14 days after treatment.

Budget: $ 37.70 To $ 150.48


Best points:

  • Spot-on for cats and dogs which kills fleas
  • Apply every 2 weeks for paralysis tick control (apply once a month for flea control and brown dog tick only)
  • Kills ticks within 72 hours
  • Safe for puppies from 8 weeks old
  • Can be used on breeding, pregnant and lactating bitches
  • Product is water-fast.

Watch out for:

  • Ensure your pet is totally dry before applying Frontline products. Do not bathe or shampoo your pet for at least 48 hours.Use only gentle, soap-free, pet shampoos when bathing.

Budget: $ 35.70 To $ 115.96


Best points:

  • Spray which kills fleas and ticks on cats and dogs
  • Registered fro tick control in cats as well as dogs
  • Apply every 2 weeks (dogs) or 3 weeks (cats) for paralysis tick control (apply once a month for flea control and brown dog tick only)
  • Kills ticks within 72 hours
  • Safe in puppies and kittens from 2 days old
  • Can be used on breeding, pregnant and lactating bitches

Watch out for:

  • Ensure your pet is totally dry before applying Frontline products. Do not bathe or shampoo your pet for at least 48 hours.

Budget: $ 27.02 To $ 88.96

Tick collars and tick rinses are a great budget option for pet owners

Best points:

  • Tick collar for dogs only, which kills all ticks and prevents attachment of ticks,  and detaches ticks
  • Apply new collar every 8 weeks
  • Allow 48 hours for maximum tick protection
  • Safe for puppies from 16 weeks old

Watch out for:

  • Do not allow dog to chew collar; seek vet advice if collar is chewed
  • Once applied, do not remove collar(except for swimming or bathing as water will reduce the efficacy of the collar), since the continual dosage of the amitraz active ingredient will be interrupted.
  • Slight odour when pack opened -  will subside.

Budget: $ 11.59


Best points:

  • Flea and tick collar for dogs
  • Apply new collar at least every 6 weeks for paralysis ticks
  • Allow 48 hours for maximum tick protection
  • Can be used with other Bayer products such as advantix, advocate and advantage
  • Safe for puppies from 12 weeks old

Watch out for:

  • Do not allow dog to chew collar; seek vet advice if collar is chewed
  • Recommended to remove collar for swimming and bathing
  • Constant swimming and bathing may reduce the effectiveness of the collar

Budget: $ 14.19


Best points:

  • Tick collar for dogs
  • Apply new collar at least every 12 weeks for paralysis ticks
  • Allow 2-3 weeks for maximum tick protection
  • Can be used concurrently with frontline plus
  • Safe in puppies from 8 weeks old

Watch out for:

  • Advised to remove collar for swimming and bathing

Budget: $ 18.49


Best points:

  • Cost-effective rinse for fleas, ticks, flies and biting insects in dogs and horses
  • Re-apply weekly to dogs for tick control
  • Safe in dogs from 3 months old

Watch out for:

  • Toxic to cats; do not use in cats

Budget: $ 19.89 To $ 57.47


Best points:

  • Cost-effective rinse for fleas, ticks, and lice on cats and dogs of all ages
  • Kill and prevents attachment of ticks for up to 3 days

Watch out for:

  • Can be used in cats but may cause some dribbling and unsteady gait in some cats

Budget: $ 9.99


4. Know the signs of tick paralysis disease

Tick paralysis is an emergency, and you should always contact your vet for advice if you find or remove a tick from your pet. Many pets die each year from tick paralysis because owners did not recognise the signs of tick paralysis or delay taking their pet to the vet.

When the paralysis tick attaches to your pet, it secretes a powerful toxin as it feeds on blood. It usually takes around three days after the tick attaches for signs of illness to develop. Signs of tick paralysis generally pass through three stages of increasing severity:

  • Initially pets may have an unusual, high-pitched meow or bark and may show weakness especially in the back legs. Some pets may vomit.
  • Later, pets may start to cough/grunt  and / or  pant and / or salivate excessively and are often quite wobbly in the back legs.
  • As signs worsen, pets cannot stand and breathing is very difficult. Death follows quite quickly

5. Check where you can access emergency vet care if required

  • If you have moved to a new area or have taken your pet on holidays, be sure to visit the local vet clinic as soon as possible for local advice on paralysis ticks in the area.
  • Check the availability of after-hours vet services in the area, in case you are concerned your pet may be affected by a paralysis tick late in the day or during a holiday period; some coastal vets share after-hours services with other clinics in the area, and you may have to drive some distance for after-hours vet care.

How to apply
How to search for ticks
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