3 Common Australian Ticks To Watch For
Australians are growing more cautious with their walks in hotter months as ticks are prevalent. Here are the top things to look for when searching your pet for ticks and some tips to help you through these months.
A bit about Aussie ticks
First of all, they’re not insects. They’re actually arachnids (yuck!). In fact, they’re more closely related to scorpions and spiders than ants.
But unlike many other creepy crawlies, they won’t just bite or annoy you or your pet before flying away - they’re in for the long haul. They can remain attached to their host for days before saying goodbye.
Signs of a tick bite
On your pet, a previous tick bite could look like a small red dot or bump - a bit like a mosquito bite.
These red spots tend to show up where the tick bite or removal happened and will typically go away after a few days.
How to check your pet for active ticks
Australian pet owners should check their pets daily for ticks during hotter months or in tick-prone areas (east-coast/hot and humid areas).
Ticks are most commonly found around the neck/head area as well as around the legs of pets.
To check for ticks, gently run your hands or fingertips through your pet’s coat, feeling for bumps and abnormalities. If you have a pet with a thick coat, you can part the hair where you feel the bump to get a better sight of the area.
Some ticks are tricky and can hide in the folds of a pet’s skin and between joints so make sure you carefully check all over your pet.
Can tick bites get infected?
Yep. Tick bites can get infected on cats, dogs, humans, and pretty much any other animal.
If you’ve removed a tick from your pet and it’s scratching or licking at the wound, that can be a hint that the area is infected.
Some more signs to look for include:
Redness around wound
Scratches/itchiness growing worse
If you think your dog has an infected wound, you should contact us immediately. The sooner an infection is spotted, the easier it is to treat.
How do ticks get onto pets, do they fly?
Like other arachnids, ticks can’t fly.
They attach themselves to our pets by waiting in high points of grasses and plants for them to pass by. They then grab on and find somewhere that they want to latch on.
Unfortunately, that makes Australian pets particularly susceptible to ticks because most of them spend a lot of time outside enjoying running around natural environments.
Because of that, Australians should be extra careful when taking their pets outdoors in the hotter months.
Are there different types of ticks in Australia?
In Australia, there are over 70 different types of ticks. The three most common are:
Brown dog tick
And while all ticks can be dangerous for animals, the paralysis tick is one of the common ones that cause problems for Aussie pet owners.
As its name suggests, the paralysis tick can cause paralysis/poisoning, leading to respiratory or heart failure - and left untreated, death.
Tick paralysis symptoms
The paralysis tick injects its toxin into the host as it feeds and the longer it’s attached, the more severe the symptoms and effects become.
Symptoms of tick paralysis include:
Heavy breathing and coughing
Weakness or difficulty moving/standing (especially in hind legs), even collapsing
Changes in voice (bark/meow)
As mentioned above, if tick paralysis is left untreated, your pet could be at risk of permanent damage and death.
If you suspect that your pet is suffering from tick paralysis, contact Highfields Veterinary Surgery immediately on (07) 4630 8399 or find our location here.
If you need after-hours care, find your closest after-hours vet here.
Do flea and tick preventions work?
Like humans, each pet is an individual. Because of that, there’s no perfect fix-all available on the shelves of supermarkets or pet stores.
It’s best to talk to your vet for specific advice before purchasing expensive medications and equipment.
If you want to learn more about ticks and prevention to keep your pet safe this Summer and onwards, talk to your Highfields Veterinarian expert by booking a consultation online here or by calling (07) 4630 8399.
We’re open 7 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday and 8:30 am to 1 pm on Saturday.