TICKS flourish in warm, humid environments.
In addition to spreading diseases such as biliary fever and tick bite fever, they can cause damage to the skin and significant blood loss.
Most ticks in the environment quest or seek out a host by climbing brush, grasses, walls, or fences, waiting for movement or exhaled carbon dioxide as a signal to move to their desired host. Removal of brush and leaf litter and maintaining grass at a shorter height makes it difficult for ticks to find areas to quest and gain access to the dog.
When environmental modification is not possible, it may be appropriate to restrict the dog’s access from areas harbouring ticks. Restricting a dog’s access from crawl spaces, gaps underneath kennels, bushy and grassy areas can help prevent reacquisition of ticks.
Application of acaricides to the environment is usually only necessary or effective for the control of certain ticks on premises. A licensed pest control applicator should be consulted for advice. Areas under structures should be treated as well as vertical surfaces such as walls and fences.
There are many different options for treating dogs to prevent or limit tick infestations, including amitraz, fipronil, pyrethroids, and oral isoxazolines such as fluralaner and afoxolaner. Amitraz is an effective acaricide available in a collar formulation. Fipronil has been widely used in South Africa for many years and is available in spray and spot-on formulations. Current spot-on formulations often combine fipronil with a pyrethroid to boost the acaricidal activity of the product.
Pyrethroids are a widely used class of chemicals for the control of ticks on dogs and include collars and spot-on products containing cyphenothrin, deltamethrin, flumethrin, or permethrin. Pyrethroids are the only class of acaricide used on dogs that have repellent activity.
Recently, isoxazolines, including afoxolaner and fluralaner, have become available and provide effective tick control via oral administration to dogs. Consult your veterinarian for advice on specific products suited to your dog.