Latest News

National Tick Awareness Month for Pets in Australia

Warning for pet owners with new research revealing deadly tick paralysis occurs all year-round

Vets call on dog owners to stay up to date with tick prevention to reduce potentially costly, and potentially fatal, consequences.

Vets are urging pet owners to be compliant with tick prevention after a new study published in the International Journal for Parasitology found paralysis tick cases are seen all year-round (including throughout the winter months)[1]. The study found that there are significant variations in the peak season of tick paralysis by region.

Reporting on data from 22,840 cases of tick paralysis in dogs and cats from four regions along the east coast of Australia over a period of up to 19 years, results revealed that the peak season of tick paralysis starts earlier in in the north than in the south. It also uncovered that Victoria had two peak seasons of tick paralysis, while other regions only had one.

The new findings come as the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel, which consists of veterinary and scientific experts, once again looks to put a spotlight on the dangers of deadly paralysis ticks with the start of the annual National Tick Awareness Month for Pets (August 1 -31).

Author of the study, Professor Stephen Barker, University of Queensland, says, “While it is known that there are peak seasons for tick paralysis, the study reminds us that cases still occur outside the traditional high-risk period in spring and early summer – cases are seen year-round, including during the cooler winter months.

“This finding further validates the call for dog owners to be compliant with using an effective tick control product all year-round. People living in non-paralysis tick zones should also remain vigilant, especially when travelling with their pet,” Professor Barker said.

Despite the impact of paralysis ticks on Australian pets, there is still a lot that is poorly understood about these parasites.

Paralysis ticks are parasites that live by feeding on blood. As they feed, they inject dogs with a neurotoxin, and this can cause signs of paralysis. Complacency with tick prevention can cost dog owners tens of thousands of dollars, and some dogs will die from tick paralysis despite the best veterinary care.

However, in positive news, new data on owner compliance with using tick prevention over the past 12 months shows there’s been an increase across the eastern seaboard from 43% to 54% [2].

In NSW, compliance has increased from 51% to 54%, including Sydney up from 51% to 54% and Northern Regional NSW from 51% to 62%. In QLD, compliance amongst dog owners increased from 45% to 49%. Brisbane grew 46% to 60%, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast 55% to 68% and Regional QLD from 38% to 49%. And, in Victoria, a state found to have two tick seasons, compliance increased significantly going from 30% to 53%.

Commenting on the compliance of Australian dog owners with tick prevention, Professor Barker says “We’ve seen a strong increase in dog owner compliance with tick prevention across the eastern seaboard and education and awareness about the importance of tick prevention is growing year-on-year – so the aim of National Tick Awareness Month for Pets is to build on this trajectory.

“It’s important for dog owners to understand the risks of paralysis ticks and the consequences that can result from not being proactive with protecting their dog all year-round,” Professor Barker concluded.

To best protect dogs from paralysis ticks, vets are urging owners to use an effective tick control product, like NexGard SPECTRA®, all year-round. 

They should also perform daily searches following three easy steps:

✔️ Gently move your fingertips through the coat at the level of the skin, feeling for any bumps.

✔️ Start at the head and neck - don't forget the mouth and ears - and continue down the front legs to the paws, checking between and under the toes. Search the chest, belly, back, tail, and back legs.

✔️ Remove the collar and search for ticks that may be hiding underneath it.

For more information on National Tick Awareness Month for Pets and information on how to best protect dogs from ticks, fleas, mites, heartworm and intestinal worms, visit


[1] Teo, E. J. M., Arganda, A., Webster, R., Yappa, A., Barker, D. & Barker, S. C. (2023) Two seasons of tick paralysis in Victoria yet one season in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. International Journal for Parasitology, 53, 43–53.

[2] Source Kantar on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim. According to dosing to manufacturer’s instructions in treating for ticks. Online survey of n=600 dog owners. Data from April 2022-April 2023.

About NexGard SPECTRA®

NexGard SPECTRA®, manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, is a tasty once-a-month chew suitable for puppies and dogs from eight weeks of age and weighing at least 2 kg. NexGard SPECTRA® provides the most complete protection against fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm and intestinal worms, all in one tasty chew, and is available in Australia at leading veterinary clinics, pet specialty stores and online. See product label for full claim details and directions for use.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is working on first-in-class innovation for the prediction, prevention, and treatment of diseases in animals. For veterinarians, pet owners, farmers, and governments in more than 150 countries, we offer a large and innovative portfolio of products and services to improve the health and well-being of companion animals and livestock. 

MEDIA RELEASE, 1st August 2023

Related Stories:


No comments

Post a Comment