Dog owners now have at least seven 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 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 Prevention||Number using|
|Bravecto Spot On||1|
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?
Bravecto and Simparica 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 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.
So the summary is this: if you use Simparica, Bravecto or NexGard 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.
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!
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story!
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