Paralysis Tick anti-serum shortage warning

Paralysis Tick anti-serum

Dog owners are being urged to ensure their dogs are protected against the deadly paralysis tick in response to a national paralysis tick anti-serum shortage.

Facing a perfect storm of high paralysis tick risk due to the warmer weather and a national shortage of paralysis tick anti-serum, Vets across the country are calling on dog owners to ensure their dogs are protected against these parasites.

What causes tick paralysis

Tick paralysis is caused by the paralysis tick, Ixodes holocyclus, which inhabits coastal regions of eastern Australia and is traditionally most active during the warmer spring and summer months, however cases are seen year-round.

Paralysis ticks are parasites that live by feeding on the blood of host animals, in the process injecting saliva that contains a neurotoxin which can cause signs of paralysis. Animals with tick paralysis are normally treated with paralysis tick anti-serum to neutralise the neurotoxin. The shortage of this potentially life-saving medication means that if a dog is affected with tick paralysis, it will be even more difficult to treat.

The importance of protecting your pet

According to Dr Geoffrey Golovsky from Vet HQ in Double Bay, now is the time to ensure your pet is protected against this potentially fatal parasite. The risk of not being protected against paralysis ticks all year round is really a matter of life or death, particularly now treatment options may be limited with the paralysis tick anti-serum shortage.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to protect your dog.

How to protect your dog

Firstly, Vets are urgently and strongly recommending all dogs be given an effective tick control product such as NexGard® or NexGard SPECTRA®.

Secondly, dog owners should also perform daily tick searches.

And finally, be on the lookout for any of the signs of tick paralysis as the earlier cases are diagnosed, the better the outcome.

Signs of tick paralysis

Signs of tick paralysis can vary, and may include:

  • Altered mobility, which may include loss of coordination and weakness, often seen as a wobbly walk
  • Change or loss of voice/bark
  • Laboured or rapid breathing, grunting noises and/or abdominal heaving
  • Coughing, gagging and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Appearing generally unwell

As soon as you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, especially if you or your pet may have been in a paralysis tick area, take them straight to your Vet.  Or, if you are unsure about the protection required in your local area.

How to perform a tick search

More information on how to perform a thorough tick search can be found here Tick Check | NexGard.


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