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Ticks In Australia

There are a number of tick species that affect companion animals in Australia including the Brown Dog Tick, Bush Tick, Cattle Tick and the most dangerous species the Paralysis Tick. The peak tick season, when there are higher numbers of adult ticks present, is during the warmer months from August to February. However, ticks can still be found throughout the year particularly in areas where the climatic conditions remain suitable.

Due to the small size of ticks it can be sometimes hard to tell the difference between species, and colour is not always an accurate identification tool. The best way to identify the dangerous paralysis tick from the other tick species is that their legs are all bunched up at the front of the body and the middle two pairs of legs are lighter in colour than their other legs.

Paralysis Ticks are the most dangerous ticks in Australia and have the potential of causing illness and even death to our pets. Early signs of a paralysis tick being attached to your pet include lethargy, a change in voice, weak/wobbly hind legs and/or vomiting and if not treated early they can cause complete paralysis and death.

Although the paralysis tick is the most dangerous, the other species can still be harmful to our companion animals. Babesia Canis infection is an infection that is transmitted through the bite of a Brown Dog Tick that is carrying the disease. It is a blood borne disease that attacks the red blood cells causing anaemia, weakness, inflammation and fever. If an animal suffers from a high infestation of ticks, no matter what species, it can cause them to suffer from anaemia due to the amount of blood the ticks are feeding on. Ticks, even when only one is attached to an animal, can cause skin irritation or damage and allergic reactions.

Types of ticks and their general distribution in Australia. Image used with permission from Virbac Animal Health



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  1. This would seem to indicate that the only tick in Tasmania is the paralysis tick Ixodes cornuata. Pretty sure there are bush ticks too… ie not all ticks in Tas are the paralysis tick and highly dangerous. Any further information?

    1. Hi Fiona,
      As far as I am aware that is correct, only the Paralysis Tick is present in Tasmania. You might find that they are commonly called other names like grass tick, seed tick and bush tick, often depending on the life stage they are in, however they are Ixodes cornuata.


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