The month of August marks the first-ever National Tick Awareness Month for Pets in Australia. Heading into spring Australia also enters its high-risk months for ticks. So, it is a perfect time to understand the dangers ticks present to your pet and the importance of tick control, especially among those who like to travel with their dogs.
There are three main tick species in Australia: bush ticks, brown dog ticks, and paralysis ticks. In Western Australia we, fortunately, don’t have the most dangerous, paralysis ticks, however that doesn’t mean that tick control for you dog isn’t necessary or beneficial. Heavy infestations of brown dog ticks may cause anaemia in your dog, and bush and brown dog ticks can transmit fatal diseases when they bite, such as the bacterial infection caused by Ehrlichia canis.
Ehrlichiosis infections in dogs can cause serious disease and death. Transmitted when bitten by a brown dog tick, Ehrlichiosis was confirmed for the first time in 2020 in remote communities in Northern Territory and Western Australia. While the risk in metropolitan areas remains low, it is recommended that pet owners use an effective tick control product all year round, especially those who are travelling to remote areas. Daily searching and removal of ticks is also recommended.
Complete prevention of ehrlichiosis requires the use of products that repel ticks and stop them from attaching and feeding in the first place (e.g. some tick collars and topical treatments). Isoxazoline products (such as NexGard® and NexGard SPECTRA®) have an important role to play in reducing the spread of ehrlichiosis through communities by contributing to the control of brown dog tick populations. They are recommended in addition to a tick repellent product in those geographic areas where ehrlichiosis is a risk.
Daily searching and removal of ticks is also recommended. Any ticks that you find on your dog should be removed as soon as possible. Use tweezers to twist the tick, then pluck the tick away from the skin. You should ensure that you don’t squeeze the tick’s body during removal as this can release toxins into your animal. If you are a bit squeamish with the idea — we are always available to assist!
It is critical that West Australian dog owners, especially those who travel outside Perth, are not complacent with their tick control, and use a monthly preventative all year round. Additional information on Tick Awareness Month including how to spot ticks head to www.nexgard.com.au/tickcheck.