What Is The Best Paralysis Tick Prevention?

Updated March 26, 2021

Dog owners now have at least eight choices for treating and preventing paralysis ticks on dogs. The following represents my personal opinion on which ones are better.

Click here to find out more about paralysis ticks and whether you need tick prevention. However, the best way to know if you live in a tick area is to ask your local vet!

I travelled to just such a tick area. In 2020 I asked each person at Acacia Avenue Dog Park in Newcastle which tick treatment they were using. Here are their answers:

Tick PreventionNumber using
NexGard Spectra12
Bravecto Tablet9
Bravecto Spot On1
Not used3

I was struck by several things:

  • Despite me not prompting, nearly everyone had excellent awareness. Most were able to instantly answer with an appropriate product name.
  • Only one person was deliberately not using paralysis tick prevention (an elderly man who thought it was a vet conspiracy).
  • Two people said ‘my vet does everything’. This also means their dogs aren’t on prevention as you have to do it yourself.

And the winner is…

NexGard & NexGard Spectra

More than half of the dog owners who are using tick prevention are choosing one of the two versions of NexGard. The difference between them is that ‘Spectra’ also covers heartworm and some intestinal worms.

Why it’s so popular is easy to see. I visited the local vet who recommend NexGard. Since they started using it, cases of tick paralysis in their clinic have dropped from 2-3 per week to 2-3 per year.

I suspect that NexGard is most popular because it was the first of the modern isoxazoline tablets to hit the Australian market. But does that make it the best???

What About Bravecto, Simparica & Credelio?

Bravecto, Simparica & Credelio are the other isoxazolines. The truth is that these are at least equally effective at preventing ticks. So why aren’t they as popular?

Bravecto had a giant scare campaign that seriously dented its success around the world. You can read about it here, and you might agree it was a little unfair.

Simparica is the next newest and has never broken through like the others. It’s the one I use for my dogs but it was probably too late to ever be the market leader.

Credelio had only just been released at the time of this survey.

So the summary is this: if you use Simparica, Bravecto, NexGard or Credelio your dog is probably on the most effective tick treatment you can buy. While never guaranteed, the protection should be as good as it gets.

However, you should also know about the known side effects of isoxazolines.

And The Other Treatments?

I do not recommend any of the others. Here’s why:

Advantix is an older-style spot-on which needs to be used every 2 weeks for tick control. It’s starting to show its age.

Seresto is a collar impregnated with similar insecticides to the ones in Advantix. I admit to being heavily biased against this delivery method.

Frontline was the first registered tick prevention but never worked well, even when used every 2 weeks. I’m glad no-one mentioned it. Similarly, Preventic and Kiltix collars are available, but rarely used.

Additionally, these topical treatments are considered less environmentally friendly than tablet options. You will find very different advice in my article on ehrlichiosis and Brown Dog Ticks, where some of these treatments have a greater role.

All in all, I was very impressed by the level of engagement of Newcastle dog owners with this important threat. I went expecting people to be all over the place and instead found a bunch of informed and committed dog owners. I’m guessing you’ll be just the same!

Related: A Comparison Of Dog Flea, Tick & Heartworm Treatments

Have something to add? Comments (if open) will appear within 24 hours.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here.

4 Replies to “What Is The Best Paralysis Tick Prevention?”

  1. I have rescue bulldogs that are highly allergic to chemical based flea and tick prevention methods either orally or topically. I need something natural that will protect my furkids and something that works? Any suggestions please would be greatly appreciated
    Thank you

    1. Hi Phae. I’m sorry to say that there aren’t any natural tick prevention options which are reliable enough. If your dog lives in a tick area, the risk is too high.

  2. My dog is 20 months old and has been on Simparica Trio since 10 weeks old. She is also MDR1 Mutant/Normal. At 18 months she had a seizure followed 6 weeks later by another one. I stopped Simparica Trio after the first seizure still to be followed by the second seizure 6 weeks later. Do I still use Simparica Trio if not what do I use for flea and tick. I do live by wooded areas.

    1. Hi Kim. I can’t comment on the best treatment for your dog as it looks like you are concerned about ticks that spread Lyme disease, which is a subject I’m unfamiliar with. However, I certainly would find an alternative product to any of the isoxazolines like Simparica in a dog prone to seizures. Your local vet should have some good suggestions. Good luck.

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