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A survey of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) of companion animals in Australia

Greay, T.L, Oskam, C.L., Gofton, A.W., Rees, R.L., Ryan, U.M.ORCID: 0000-0003-2710-9324 and Irwin, P.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-0006-8262 (2016) A survey of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) of companion animals in Australia. Parasites & Vectors, 9 . Article number: 207.

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Background: Ticks are among the most important vectors of pathogens affecting companion animals, and also cause health problems such as tick paralysis, anaemia, dermatitis, and secondary infections. Twenty ixodid species have previously been recorded on dogs, cats, and horses in Australia, including Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Ixodes holocyclus and Haemaphysalis longicornis, which transmit tick-borne diseases. A survey of hard ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) was conducted during 2012-2015 to investigate tick species that infest dogs, cats, and horses in Australia. Methods: Individual tick specimens were collected from dogs, cats and horses across Australia and sample collection locations were mapped using QGIS software. Ticks were morphologically examined to determine species, instar and sex. The companion animal owners responded to questionnaires and data collected were summarised with SPSS software. Results: A total of 4765 individual ticks were identified in this study from 7/8 states and territories in Australia. Overall, 220 larvae, 805 nymphs, 1404 males, and 2336 females of 11 tick species were identified from 837 companion animal hosts. One novel host record was obtained during this study for Ixodes myrmecobii, which was found on Felis catus (domestic cat) in the town of Esperance, Western Australia. The most common tick species identified included R. sanguineus on dogs (73 %), I. holocyclus on cats (81 %) and H. longicornis on horses (60 %). Conclusions: This study is the first of its kind to be conducted in Australia and our results contribute to the understanding of the species and distribution of ticks that parasitise dogs, cats, and horses in Australia. Records of R. sanguineus outside of the recorded distribution range emphasise the need for a systematic study of the habitat range of this species. Several incomplete descriptions of ixodid species encountered in this study hindered morphological identification.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: BioMed Central
Copyright: © 2016 Greay et al.
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