This article is written by Courtney from our Katikati clinic.
Ticks are an external parasite that attach to the skin and feed on the blood of our animals. They live in pasture and climb up grass stalks waiting for your animal to walk by. They are quite slow moving and cannot jump; they rely on crawling onto their host. When a tick feeds, they attach and do not release themselves from the host (animal) until they are full. Ticks are generally found in rural areas or unmanaged suburban areas with long grass.
The tick’s lifecycle involves 4 stages. Eggs, larval, nymph and adult. stage 3, is about 3 times larger than a flea and the adult, stage 4, especially after feeding, can swell to the size of your pinky finger nail and commonly get mistaken as a lump.
We do not recommend removing the ticks by hand as there is a risk the mouth piece can be left in your animal’s skin and create an abscess. There is a special tick removing tool you can buy which twists the tick off and a bit of the animal’s skin. There are also ways of removing the ticks without special tools however we recomend you contact one of our clinics to discuss other options.
Top tips to prevent ticks this season:
- Treat using a flea treatment which also kills ticks (Cats – Frontline, Bravecto; Dogs – Frontline, Bravecto, Nexgard, Seresto).
- Mow your lawn.
- Treat your live stock – Cattle and deer can be treated with a pour on product called Baytico
- There are currently no products licensed to use on horses, sheep and alpacas that will kill ticks. There are sprays available that will deter the ticks for a short time but needs to be reapplied.
Please come in and see our friendly nursing staff if you have more questions or are having a tick problem and just can’t get on top of it.