Are there any other external (ecto) parasites we need to worry about in NZ?
Like fleas, ticks are also ectoparasites. They live on the skin surface of a ‘host’ and feed on their blood. The tick species in New Zealand are the New Zealand Cattle tick & the Brown Dog tick. New Zealand cattle ticks spend most of their life in pasture but must feed on an animal host to complete their lifecyle. They live on the host for and feed for up to five days, then drop off.
How do dogs get ticks and how will I know?
Ticks don’t jump or fly, so physical contact is the only method of transportation. They tend to lurk at the top of tall grass and shrubs waiting to attach or drop on to a passing host. Often we will see ticks attached to the ears, face or legs of our pets after walking in long grass, especially in areas where stock may have been.
Luckily for us in NZ, ticks don’t spread tick borne diseases (e.g. lyme disease, rickettsia) or cause major conditions (e.g. tick paralysis) in our pets like they do in many other countries but as the climate warms up this may change. Ticks can be uncomfortable and can cause skin irritation so it is important to look out for them. Most of the newer flea preparations also treat ticks so make sure to ask us if you have any concerns about these as well.