Do you know what a tick is? What they look like or how they can affect your dog?

Read the article below to understand ticks a little better and find out how to best prevent ticks affecting your pet.


Q: What are ticks?

Ticks are blood sucking parasites that live on the exterior of an animal. The most common ticks in Australia are the brown dog tick, the bush tick and the paralysis tick. Paralysis ticks presents the most risk to your pets.

Q: Where are paralysis ticks found?

The paralysis tick is found on the eastern seaboard of Australia. Native animals, such as bandicoots and possums are their natural hosts but these ticks will also attach to dogs and cats. They are picked up when pets walk near bushes and leaf litter.

Q: What do paralysis ticks look like?

The legs of paralysis ticks, as well as brown dog and bush ticks, are situated at mostly the front part of the body – not down the sides of the body. The paralysis tick is lighter in colour than the brown dog tick and bush tick and has larger mouthparts – the snout is particularly long. The male is flat, oval and yellowish brown. The female is also yellowish when unfed but becomes greyish with a brown line encircling the body when engorged with blood. A fully engorged female tick may be 15-18 mm in length.

Q: How do they affect my pet?

When a female tick attaches to the body of your pet it begins injecting a very potent toxin. The tick becomes engorged with blood as it feeds but your dog begins to progressively experience muscle paralysis. Symptoms of paralysis include; unable to bark or swallow, back legs become wobbly or unable to walk, then eventually unable to breath, then they die. Just one tick is capable of causing paralysis and death.

Q. How do I check my pet for ticks?

To examine your dog, carefully feel all over your dog paying particular attention to the head and neck, inside the ears, between the toes and under the front legs and around the anal and genital areas. If you rub your fingers through the coat it will be easier to find them rather than solely trying to look for them.

Q. How do I prevent ticks from infecting my dog?

Prevention is better than cure. You should avoid the tick habitat if possible. Search your pet every day for ticks. Use a preventative treatment such as Advantix, Frontline or a Scalibor collar as directed on dogs and Frontline on cats. If you find a tick on your animal seek veterinary assistance immediately.

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