Bush Tick
Symptoms,
Prevention & Treatment 

Bush ticks on dogs

Bush ticks are one of the most important tick species to affect Australian dogs. It’s important to be aware of the risks, understand what to do if you find a tick and how to protect your dog.

 

What are bush ticks? 

The Australian bush tick was introduced from Asia. Cattle are the preferred host of bush ticks, but dogs, horses, and some species of marsupials and birds may also be infested. Bush ticks are found across parts of the east coast and west coast of Australia. 

 

Bush tick

Bush tick vs. paralysis tick 

Unlike paralysis ticks, bush ticks do not cause tick paralysis. However, they can cause skin irritation and transmit potentially fatal infectious diseases to dogs. One difference which can help to identify a paralysis tick is that the first and last pairs of legs are darker (brown) compared to the middle two pairs of legs (beige). All four pairs of legs of the bush tick are the same colour. Several tick species can affect dogs in Australia and identifying the species of a tick can be difficult. It’s best to contact your veterinary clinic for advice. 

 

What causes bush ticks to bite dogs? 

Ticks ‘quest’ to find a host, which includes crawling up grass or shrubs and lying in wait. Ticks are sensitive to heat and the carbon dioxide that your dog exhales, which alerts them that there’s a suitable host nearby. When a dog brushes past, the tick uses its front legs to grab on, then crawls through the coat to find a suitable place to attach and feed. 

 

What are bush tick symptoms in dogs? 

Bush ticks can cause irritation to the skin where they attach. Bush ticks can also transmit a disease called babesiosis to dogs. Babesia parasites invade the red blood cells of the dog causing anaemia, which can be fatal. 

 

Bush tick symptoms in dogs

 

Bush tick removal  

If you find a tick on your dog, it should be removed as soon as possible with a tick removal tool or tweezers. Grab the tick adjacent to your pet’s skin (at the tick mouthparts), twist the tick, then pluck the tick away from the skin. Take care not to squeeze the tick’s body. If you are unsure, it’s always best to speak to your veterinary clinic who will assist you. 

 

How to protect your dog

Using an effective tick control product such as NexGard® or NexGard SPECTRA® year-round is important to protect your dog from ticks. Just one monthly chew provides protection for a full month against paralysis ticks, brown dog ticks and bush ticks. 

 

  • NexGard SPECTRA: NexGard SPECTRA provides the most complete protection against fleas, ticks, mites, intestinal worms and heartworm, all in one tasty chew. 
  • NexGard: NexGard is a simple monthly treatment to protect against fleas, ticks and mites. 

 

FAQs


1.    Are bush ticks and paralysis ticks the same? 
No, bush ticks and paralysis ticks are different species of ticks. The bite of a paralysis tick can result in a life-threatening condition for pets called tick paralysis. Bush ticks can cause skin irritation and transmit babesiosis, a potentially fatal disease, to dogs. 


2.    What’s the difference between bush ticks and paralysis ticks? 
Unlike paralysis ticks, bush ticks do not cause tick paralysis. However, they can cause skin irritation and transmit potentially fatal diseases to dogs. One difference that can help to identify a paralysis tick is that the first and last pairs of legs are darker (brown) compared to the middle two pairs of legs (beige). All four pairs of legs of the bush tick are the same colour. Several species of ticks can affect dogs in Australia and identifying the species of a tick can be difficult. It’s best to contact your veterinary clinic for advice. 


3.    How harmful are bush ticks? 
Bush ticks can transmit a potentially fatal disease called babesiosis to dogs. It’s important to remove any ticks from your dog as soon as they are found and use an effective tick control product like NexGard or NexGard SPECTRA year-round.  


4.    Can a human get bush ticks from dogs? 
Humans can be bitten by ticks, but they are usually picked up from walking through vegetation and not from our pets. 
 

PET-0252-2021

Disclaimer

All content in this document is the property of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia Pty. Ltd. and is protected by copyright. You may only use this document for informational, non-commercial, and personal use purposes. You may not modify this document, publish or commercially broadcast it in part or in full (including on a network computer) without our prior written consent. This notice must be retained in all circumstances. Copyright ©2021 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia Pty. Ltd. ®NEXGARD SPECTRA, NEXGARD, HEARTGARD30 and PARAGARD are registered trademarks of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group. All rights reserved. PET-0102-2019. PET-0123-2021.