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Thread: Building natural tick immunity? Or other suggestions?

  1. #1

    Default Building natural tick immunity? Or other suggestions?

    I have now found about 6 ticks on Sammy, all of them paralysis ticks except for one bush tick. I ended up taking him to the vet because I was becoming paranoid and every time he lay down I thought he was becoming paralyzed (good times for Sammy...) Anyway the vet explained that at this time of year and based on the size, they were stage 1 ticks, and then went on to say that if it was his dog, he would have left them on to build immunity. He said anything larger - stage 3, you can't leave on for more than 3 days but that the stage 1 ticks produced no toxins.

    Has anyone ever tried doing anything like this? I go on so many bush walks, it would be awesome if it was possible to build up some immunity. I was going to use Advantix but we have a cat and the cat play bites the dog and I've been told it's extremely toxic to cats. That leaves Frontline Plus, but the fleas seem to be immune to that and I have no idea what effect it has on ticks.

    I can't use a collar because again, the cat might ingest it.

    For people who live in tick areas, what do you do?

  2. #2


    What your vet has suggested – sounds a tad farfetched and very risky to your dog to my way of thinking.

    This method may build up some immunity – but that is all it is – just some. I notice that the vet says:

    stage 3, you can't leave on for more than 3 days but that the stage 1 ticks produced no toxins.
    Would you be comfortable leaving a tick on for this long ? Would you be knowledgeable enough and confident enough to know when a tick has reached stage 3 in its development ?

    I know I wouldn’t !

    With my last 3 pups – I haven’t used flea or tick treatment on them at all and have never had a problem.

    I use the old fashioned way of dealing with ticks – check the dog daily – everywhere. Find a tick – remove it. Being a short coated dog, any lumps/bumps on the coat can be seen easily.

    Riley, being a gundog – feet, ears, mouth and nose checked first – then I work my way over the rest of his body – and it doesn't take that long at all.

    Some links for you:

    Paralysis Ticks - Animal Options Vet Clinic Ormeau, Gold Coast

    Paralysis tick poisoning - prevention, signs, symptoms, treatment, Northern Beaches - Pittwater Animal Hospital

    Paralysis tick emergency care

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bundaberg QLD


    My first ever dog was a black Lab 'Storm'.

    We lived in the bush (oldies still do) and he was forever dissapering and exploring the local area ...keeping the bandicoots on their toes too.

    Anyway, even though he was checked daily we still missed a few here and there. He ended up getting paralysis 3 times. Its terrible to see. Broke my little heart everytime.

    But, he did eventually build up a pretty good tolerance ...i wouldnt call it immunity but he didnt get effected like most other dogs would. This was over a period of 10 or so years too so it was very slow and steady. I was only young with Storm and i wasnt the best tick remover...i'm sure i tore a few heads off that stayed in him. This probably helped build up a tolerance of sorts too perhaps. I'm no vet or tick expert but this is what we went through with Stormy for many many years.

    I wouldnt deliberatly try to build up a tolerance but i'm thinking Sammy's body will do it anyway if he continues to be effected by them little bit by little bit.

    I've seen kangaroos covered in ticks and no one ever pulls them off for them. I cant be sure they where paralysis ticks but surely the little buggers will chew on roos too.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I think roos and other native animals do not get paralysed by paralysis ticks - the way that dogs do.

    I dunno if leaving on baby ticks? would help build immunity or how that would work. Ask your vet who suggested it if he has any evidence or study papers on the effect.

    Because I know the opposite is true with bee stings and snake bites - each one makes you more vulnerable (not less) the next time.

  5. #5


    I believe what the vet said is correct ... However, it is seasonal, meaning that you need to allow the dog to build immunity every tick season. It doesn't give the dog lifelong immunity. We live in a very heavy paralysis tick area and I check my dogs and use frontline. I've sometimes left the head in and it doesn't harm the dog. Getting the tick out quickly is important when you do remove them. Tick collars also work unless the dog spends a lot of time in the water.

  6. #6


    Damn knew it sounded too good to be true. He did mention that he had a client who had working maremmas and obviously couldn't check her dogs every day, they lived with the sheep. He said that for the first year she would check them every day and mark where they had ticks. She would remove them all except for one and then leave that one on for no more than 3 days. But essentially, the dog always had at least 1 tick on it. After the first year, she doesn't do anything and so far, at least according to the vet, she hasn't had a single issue. Would be great to know whether this worked or not...

    The stage 1 ticks don't stay on until their stage 3, they drop off in between and feed from other hosts.

    I would use a tick collar but the cat might eat it, he and Sammy have their play sessions where the cat often rolls around in his paws and chews on his neck - it's like their favourite game and I wouldn't want to risk anything happening to him. I'll try the frontline plus I guess, I was just worried that if it didn't work on the fleas, I would have to dose Sammy with more than one chemical - is it safe to give a dog Comfortis and Frontline Plus at the same time?

  7. #7


    Do you have a flea problem ? If not, why worry about flea treatment ?

    Did you have a look at this link I put up ? It had some interesting information on natural ways to help with ticks.

    Paralysis Ticks - Animal Options Vet Clinic Ormeau, Gold Coast

    Such as:

    The toxin is not secreted in detectable amounts until 3 days of attachment. Clinical signs of the animal being sick are often seen at day 3-4 with peak toxicity on days 5-6. These 3 days gives us a chance to find and to remove ticks before they inject large amounts of toxin.
    Not every animal will paralyse or get really sick. Weight, age and immune competence counts – smaller and younger animals such as puppies, kittens, foals, calves, lambs and kids are more affected.
    Tick infested areas may continuously expose dogs so they develop immune resistance however it only lasts for a couple of months and not until the next season. However, infestation by adults can occur at any time of the year when conditions are suitable, even in mid winter.
    In my experience if an animal is already “wobbly on it’s legs”, tick antiserum administration will be required for recovery.

    Useful tips for natural tick control
    • Keeping animals on a natural diet will reduce waste material build up and elimination through the skin making their body odour less attractive for parasites. Fresh food diet also increases natural immunity.
    • Tick Stop is a non-toxic homeopathic remedy which may limit the effect of tick toxins. Apply Tick Stop into drinking water daily from Aug-March to develop resistance. 1 bottle of Tick Stop will be sufficient for the whole season for all your animals in the household if they share their drinking water.
    • Feeding supplements such as garlic, will absorb to the bloodstream and repel parasites.
    • Full clip long coated animals during spring, summer
    • Regular salt water swimming
    • Daily tick search as routine especially the following week after rainy, humid, warm weather

    Potential side effects are not published in the literature accompanying the products or on TV!

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