Brown dog ticks like these ones can cause big problems for dogs.
With the warm humid weather over the wet season, AMRRIC receives many calls asking for advice on treating large tick burdens in remote communities.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals (and occasionally humans). In the Top End, dogs and cats usually get Brown Dog Ticks. These ticks cause skin irritation and can be in large enough numbers make the animal anaemic.
Along the east coast of Australia, animals might also be affected by Paralysis Ticks. When they bite an animal, Paralysis Ticks inject a toxin contained in their saliva, into the blood of the animal. This toxin can cause weakness, paralysis and ultimately death if the animal does not receive veterinary treatment.
What can I do to prevent my animals getting ticks?
- Ticks like long grass so make sure you keep the grass around your house short.
- If your animal lives in or visits an area that has Paralysis Ticks, you should check your animals daily for ticks. Run your hands over their skin, feeling for any bumps. Clipping the coat of long haired animals over the tick season can help you to find ticks. Gordon Vet Hospital has a great instructional video on performing a tick search on your pet which you can view here.
If you find a tick, remove it, being careful not to squeeze the body of the tick as you are pulling it out. You can find more info on tick removal here (the same instructions apply for people and animals):
- Use tick preventative products. You can buy all of these products online and have them delivered to your mailing address. Some of these products last for a fortnight or one month, some last even longer. It is vital to follow the instructions on the packet of any of the products. Some of the dog products can be toxic to cats. Remember that even though these products are excellent, no product is guaranteed to be 100% effective at preventing ticks. Keeping your lawn mown and performing regular tick searches is still important even if your animal is on tick prevention.
–Nexgard or Nexgard Spectra
Ask your local vet for more information about ticks in your area.