Professor Rick Atwell is Australia’s foremost veterinary researcher of the deadly paralysis tick [Ixodes holocyclus]. He recently updated our regional AVA [Aust Vet Assoc] on the latest evidence. He warned that early season ticks [Spring] have been proven to attach, feed and inject their neurotoxin with greater deadly affect. He also reinforced the concept that tick paralysis is a “time dependent” toxicity displaying a highly repeatable and sequential cycle of attachment [then] small blood feed [then] 2 to 3 day pause whilst gene up-regulation induces morphologic changes that [then] allows the tick to actively feed and engorge her abdomen with blood and, in the process, also injects a potent salivary gland derived neurotoxin. Regardless of tick attachment numbers clinical symptoms of paralysis occur on day 4 to 5 after attachment with untreated naïve pets dying an average of 23 hours later.
Game Changing Tick Preventatives
Nexgard and Bravecto belong to a new class of oral ectoparasitics known as isoxazolines that were developed specifically for mammals [instead of hybridised from the agricultural industry]. Studies prove they have excellent safety profiling and immediate and persistent efficacy against a range of ectoparasites. Being a chewable they rely on the tick [and fleas and mites] feeding to kill them, so it is normal for owners to find dead attached ticks.
Studies show they are safe in dogs over 2 kg from 8 weeks of age as well as breeding, pregnant and lactating bitches. They have been tested at 5x the standard dose with no obvious toxicity. Isoxazolines are potent GABA and Glutamate gated chloride channel inhibitors and display significant selectivity for insect neurones. They should be given with a meal and stay in circulation due to being protein bound. They will not wash off and affect aquatic organisms or your human family. Bravecto [MSD Australia] is our choice as it lasts for 3 months against fleas and 4 months against paralysis ticks from a single palatable chewable. Dose your dog today and you will basically cover them for the entire tick paralysis “season”.
The only downsides are the lack of registration for use in cats. Feline owners still need to rely on Frontline or the cheaper Australian made Frontera spray for tick prevention.