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Paralysis Ticks and Preventative Treatment

23rd September 2015

This is a picture of the female Paralysis Tick (Ixodes Holocyclus). Only the female is toxic and they are found coastally along the east coast of Australia. 

They have evolved alongside a lot of the native animals in Australia, and as a result they are often quite resistant to the tick toxin. However, this means they can act as carriers of ticks into backyards and areas where dogs are likely to come into contact with them. 

Mostly found in scrubby areas, as ticks need a degree of cover to prevent dessication and exposure, the tick will attach to the dog anywhere, though statistically most ticks attach forwards from the shoulders. You need to check your pet daily, even if on prevention as the treatment will take time to kill the tick, and in this time it will be injecting venom. Check all places including the gums, between the toes, around the anus, sheath and vulva, and in the ears. 


This is the newest player on the market. The active ingredient, Fluralaner, is active against fleas for 3 months and paralysis ticks for 4 months (but only 2 months for brown dog tick).
It is not recommended for use on puppies less than 8 weeks old, or dogs weighing less than 2kg. It is recommended that Bravecto be given with food, as an empty stomach reduces the absorption of the compound.

It is safe for use in breeding dogs, pregnant and lactating bitches.

Its long and constant duration of action means you only need to re-dose every 3 months. This is super helpful if your dog suffers from Flea Allergy Dermatitis as there is no trough and it will kill adult fleas before they can lay eggs. This means fast, environmental control. If maintained regularly and no doses are missed, it is very effective flea control.

Bravecto has been used off-label to control demodectic mange as well, with raging success. Bravecto is now replacing oral Ivomec, and the weekly Dectomax injections for demodex. It's not registered for this use, but a study showed a 99% success rate with one dose. What a happy accident!

Wash your hands before feeding the fish though as the compound is quite toxic to aquatic life. This also means disposing of the packet in a thoughtful way.



This one is relatively new also and comes as a flavoured tab. It kills fleas and ticks for a month then needs to be re-administered.

Nexgard is safe from 8 weeks of age and for dogs over 2kg.

It can be given with a meal or without and while the label says it should be chewed it can be swallowed whole and will still be effective.

It also has off-label use for demodectic mange when given every 3 weeks.

There are no label indications for safety on breeding and pregnant animals but I am assured by the company at normal doses it is not harmful.



The topspots, which were once revolutionary, are probably now largely redundant except for those hard core fans. They have recently been superseded by the oral controls.

Advantix is a topspot applied to the back of the neck and protects against fleas for 4wks and ticks for 2wks. It also claims to repel ticks and mosquitos.

It is registered for use in dogs from 7 weeks of age but is TOXIC to cats. It is not recommended that you use this product on a dog that has regular close contact with cats, or who is groomed by a cat.

Advantix is safe for use in breeding animals.

Very rarely, it can cause a skin reaction where it was applied. If this happens it's recommended you use a different product in future.



Both of these products have the same active ingredient, with Frontera being the generic of Frontline now that the patent has finished.

The topspot is safe for use on dogs and cats from 8 weeks of age, and controls fleas for 4 weeks and ticks for 2 weeks (though it is not registered for tick control in cats).

The spray, both Frontline and Frontera can be used from 2 days of age and is registered for tick and flea control for both dogs and cats. It controls fleas for 4 weeks and ticks for 3 weeks. It is a very cost-effective option for smaller animals (<5kg).

However, the active, Fipronil, is VERY TOXIC to rabbits, and they will die if it is applied to them, so please use another product such as advantage or advocate, or revolution if you need parasite control on rabbits.