Paralysis ticks can cause our pets to become unwell and sometimes this can be fatal. 
Do you know the risk to your pet?
• 60% of dog owners who live in a tick area are not aware that they do
• 88% of dog owners in tick areas are either not using a tick control product or are using one but not frequently enough to prevent tick paralysis

Paralysis ticks are found along on the eastern seaboard of Australia and though cases spike in spring and summer, tick paralysis can occur in
some areas at any time of the year. If you are unsure as to whether you live in a tick area or what the risk is to your pet, speak to your local veterinarian.

So how can you help prevent tick paralysis?
Using a tick control product is important, however you also need to ensure you are applying it frequently enough to have effect.
Most tick preventions should be applied every two weeks and in some states this should be maintained all year round.
It is also important to search your pet every day for ticks. Remove any ticks found immediately and seek veterinary advice to see if your pet requires treatment.
As if that weren't bad enough, scientists suspect that a combination of global warming, recent weather patterns, overgrown gardens, composting and mulching as well as growing bandicoot numbers is contributing to a steady increase in tick populations. Compounding the problem are all those shady patches under overhanging branches in overgrown public recreational areas that prove so attractive to pets and their owners.
They may be small, but they're prolific. The female paralysis tick lays up to 3,000 eggs. After hatching, the larvae climb onto nearby vegetation and look for their first hosts. Normally, this would be a bandicoot or possum, which become immune to the poison. Once they have engorged the requisite amount of blood, the larvae drop to the ground, moult and turn into nymphs. Each nymph will then attach itself to a second host, do the blood-engorging thing again, hit the deck, moult to become an adult tick and find yet another host. After getting her fill of blood - often more than 100 times her own weight - the female paralysis tick is ready to abandon her final host and lay her eggs...to start the whole cycle all over again.
The paralysis tick injects a toxin into its host dog or cat as it feeds. Normally, cats show more resistance to this poison than dogs, but if affected the signs are similar for both. Increased body temperature due to either hot weather or exercise will exacerbate symptoms.

If left to run its course, a case of tick poisoning goes through three stages.

Early signs:

  • A change in voice; the meow or bark becomes softer and/or changes pitch.
  • Weakness in the back legs; walking along then sitting down suddenly is a common early sign.
  • Vomiting, especially if it happens several times in a day and you see froth.

Later signs:

  • Wobbliness in the back legs.
  • Excessive salivation and vomiting is not uncommon.
  • Panting, progressing to loud breathing, even grunting noises.
  • Many dogs will exhibit a moist cough and breathing problems before other signs. (Particularly common in King Charles spaniels, schnauzers and other short-nosed dogs, this is a dangerous sign because it may lead to pneumonia.)

Worsening signs:

  • As signs of poisoning progress, the animals become unable to stand.
  • Breathing becomes exaggerated and difficult.
  • As breathing becomes more difficult, the gums become cold and blue-tinged. Death follows quite quickly.

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Even if you use one (or a combination) of the repellents described below, you should still search you pet(s) every night during the tick season. These search-and-destroy missions become even more imperative after your animal has been in bushy terrain. A small tick missed one day is often found the next. Incidentally, tick control on dogs tends to be easier than on cats but, luckily for cats, they seem better able than dogs to remove attached ticks by scratching.


Advantix® Advantix will kill both fleas and ticks when applied every two weeks. As well, it may repel ticks. (Because it is water-safe, it is suitable for dogs that occasionally swim.) Advantix is toxic for cats. Please separate your dog and any cats on the day of application and, obviously, do not use on cats.

Permoxin® This is a most effective rinse for adult ticks as well as larval and nymph stages, offering up to one week's residual effect. Available as a concentrate, you mix Permoxin with water and use it as a soaking rinse or spray, leaving it on your dog to dry. You must be careful to sponge carefully around your dog's face to ensure thorough coverage. If you're in the habit of exercising in bushy areas, a light spray of Permoxin will give your dog(s) added protection against ticks. You can use Permoxin as often as every day if necessary.

Frontline® Plus & Original When you apply this preventative onto the skin between the shoulder blades, it spreads over the your dog's entire body, killing ticks on contact. It must be applied every two weeks, and you should not wash your dog 48 hours before or after application. Because the chemical can be diluted by daily or frequent swimming, we recommend you regularly search for ticks just in case. 

Frontline Spray® This spray has three week protection from paralysis ticks if applied corrrectly. If you do use Frontline, it should be at the highest dose rate at least every two to three weeks, but no longer.

Tick collars. Inexpensive and can work well, particularly at preventing larval and nymph tick attachment.


Fido's Free-Itch Rinse Concentrate®   Kills ticks on contact and prevents further attachment for up to three days.

Frontline Spray® This insecticide is effective for cats when sprayed every three weeks, but only if the coverage is thorough. Registered for tick prevention in cats, it is safe to use from just two days of age.

Please Note: Advantix and dog rinses should never be used for cats. Also, don't rely totally on products - ticks are tricky little blighters and you should check your animals every day. 

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