Veterinarians around Australia (and internationally) have no doubt heard of Dr Rob Webster especially those who treat Tick Paralysis. Dr Rob is one of the founders of Animal Emergency Service, a registered specialist in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care, and a member of the Australian Paralysis Tick Advisory Panel. The panel met in 2016 to reach a consensus on guidelines for the management, treatment and prevention of Australian tick paralysis in dogs and cats.
We’re proud to announce that Dr Rob is a key note speaker at AusTick 2018 and will be travelling around Australia to discuss the latest insights and updates on treating tick paralysis with veterinarians. We took a moment to have a chat with Rob before he embarked on this busy schedule.
What prompted your interest in the treatment of Tick Paralysis?
I started work in an emergency centre in southern Brisbane straight out of university. From the very start I was horrified by the number of otherwise healthy pets who died of tick paralysis each year despite the best treatment we could give them. I decided to help stop that yearly death toll by learning more about the disease, and by improving our life support capabilities for the sickest patients.
What is the most challenging Tick Paralysis patient case you’ve treated in your career?
The most severely affected patient I treated was a dalmation called Patch. He was on life support (with us breathing for him) for 10 days, and he suffered a cardiac arrest during the treatment. We were able to resuscitate Patch, and he eventually made a full recovery, although he had to learn to walk again and spent months in a pram being pushed around by his devoted owner!
What is the message you want Veterinarians who attend AusTick 2018 to take away?
1. Make sure every patient of your veterinary hospital receives tick prevention medication (the new products are absolutely life-saving)
2. Get a copy of the Tick Paralysis consensus guidelines to help standardise and improve tick paralysis treatment across Australia
What is your hope for the future of the treatment of Tick Paralysis?
Paralysis ticks will always be present in Australia (they are native animals), but we can stop tick paralysis from killing our pets. The three keys are preventative medication, education of pet owners who live in tick areas, and effective treatment for the pets who do get tick paralysis.