Part two of our Common Parasite series -Ticks

 

 Ticks tend to have defined ranges. 

 Different species are located in different parts of the country.  Bush ticks and Brown Dog Ticks are common throughout rural Victoria. Paralysis Ticks are located in more humid environments near water bodies (coast or lakes). 

The zone of the paralysis tick seems to be moving and they are currently found through large areas of eastern Victoria. 

 In Australia wild and feral animals maintain the life cycle.

Lifecycle

These ticks are “3 host” ticks. 

 

The first juvenile life stage attaches to one animal, feeds, then drops off.  It then develops into the next life stage, which in turn attaches to a new host.  This occurs a third time.  These 3 hosts could be 3 different hosts, or the same animal 3 times.  These ticks survive in the wild commonly on wildlife, feral animals, and livestock.

Health Effects on Dogs and Cats

Health effects depend on the tick.  All ticks feed on blood, this can cause anaemia (lack of red blood cells) and can spread blood borne infections.  The paralysis tick injects a paralysing toxin into the animal.  If not removed and treated with anti-venom, this paralysis may be fatal. Bush ticks and cattle ticks may also affect cats and dogs. Although not venomous, they do suck blood, and can spread some infectious diseases.

Health Effects on Humans

Ticks may also bite humans.  As we are less hairy, people tend to notice these parasites and quickly remove them.

Prevention

If you are travelling to a region where ticks are found, preventative products must be used.  Many flea preventive products on the market treat ticks as well, however the label must be read carefully.  Some of these products do not prevent ticks for as long as they are effective for fleas, so it is important to follow the instructions carefully.

Care must be taken to use appropriate products for cats. Some tick preventatives are safe for dogs, but highly toxic to cats. If you have cats and are concerned about which product is best, please contact us.

Multiple Choice

Which of the following is true of ticks in Australia?

A.  Australia is home to a species of ticks that may cause a fatal paralysis

B. Ticks in Australia may spread blood borne infections

C. Ticks can cause anaemia

D. All of the above

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