We are seeing lots of dogs with ticks at the moment!
Ticksare very common in Darwin, particularly at this time of year. If you are seeingticks on your dog, they are most likely brown dog ticks (Rhipicephalussanguineus).
Thankfully we don’t have the paralysis tick in Darwin, but thebrown dog tick can still be a big nuisance. They attach to the skin of a dog,and feed off blood, causing irritation, and in severe cases they can causeanaemia (low red blood cells). Dogs can also get diseases from ticks (from parasites such as Babesia and Anaplasmawhich they can carry) which can result in serious illness. Brown dog ticks muchprefer dogs to any other animal, however they will occasionally attach to othermammals such as humans or cats. Ticks do not jump from one animal to another,dog’s get ticks from an infected environment.
Ticks can attach anywhere on a dog’s body, we often findthem in the ears, and between the toes. It is important to check your dogregularly for ticks. If you do find a tick, you can remove it by grasping thetick close to where it embeds in the skin, and pulling it off. It is importantto start on treatment for tick control, even if you are only seeing a lownumber of ticks, start treatment now before it gets worse. If there are alreadylarge numbers of ticks, it will take longer to get the problem under control.Either way, come and talk to us about the best option for your pet.
Ticks lay large numbers of eggs (about 4000 per female!),and are able to survive in the environment for many months without feeding. Thereare 4 stages in the tick life cycle. The adult females are large and whenengorged look grey in colour. After they have had a feed from a dog, they seekout a secluded location to lay their eggs. They may lay them in the soil, incracks and crevices around the house, under bedding or furniture.
The eggs hatch into small brown larvae, which attach to adog to feed, then drop off and become nymphs, which are also brown and a bitbigger. Nymphs feed again off a dog, then drop off and become adults. Theadults attach to the dog again and feed. The whole life cycle can be completedin around 2 months.
What are thetreatment options?
There are many options available for tick control, and thebest treatment for your dog will depend on their age, health and breed.
If there is a severe tick infestation, tick injections willusually be the most effective at controlling ticks. We generally give oneinjection a week for four weeks to begin with, and then continue to givemonthly injections to keep the ticks under control. These injections aregenerally very effective, however there are not suitable for every dog, andcertain tests may be recommended prior to starting tick injections.
Other options for tick control include sprays, spot-ontreatments, washes and tick collars. Some are more effective thanothers. There is also new treatment option now available – a chewable tabletwhich helps to control ticks as well as fleas.
All dogs in the household should be treated for ticks at thesame time, even though one dog may have more ticks than another.
Treating the environment can also be important, particularlyfor severe infestations. You can talk to a pest control company for moreinformation about this. Any bedding should be thoroughly cleaned, or thrownaway.
All Pets veterinary nurses are happy to go through theoptions for tick control with you at any time. For more difficult cases, we also offer FREE consultations (byappointment) with one of our vets to discuss tick and flea control in moredetail.