Vets warn of increased tick activity

Beef Central, 23/08/2012

Warmer weather is giving rise to increased cattle tick activity, prompting warnings for livestock producers to take preventative steps now to avoid infestations later in the year.

Veterinarians in the NSW Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) have reported that farmers near the state’s northern coast have reported that paralysis ticks were again active and causing disease in lambs and calves.

LHPA veterinarians  have been receiving reports from farmers and private veterinarians that paralysis ticks are active and have been causing disease in lambs and calves.

“The tick is usually much more active between August and the end of the year, so we’re expecting reports to increase from now on,” said Dr Matt Ball, senior district veterinarian with the North Coast LHPA.

“The tick puts a toxin into animals that paralyses muscles causing an inability to walk and ultimately breathe.

“Livestock, pets and humans can be affected.

“Livestock most prone to the disease are young animals such as calves, lambs and kids.”

Dr Ball said producers should implement preventative strategies now to reduce the likelihood of tick infestations in their stock.

“The best advice is to make sure that cows and ewes calve or lamb in the least scrubby paddock you have.

“This will mean that young animals get less tick burdens.” 

Dr Ball added that producers with affected stock should first identify the type of tick to ensure that treatment programs are appropriate.

“If treatment is required, don’t just assume chemical control is the best option – although there are some registered products for paralysis tick control it is not practical or good practice to use them frequently,” he said.

“As paralysis ticks spends most of the time in the environment and on other animals such as bandicoots chemicals are not very effective.  It is also illegal to use non-registered products to control ticks in food producing animals.

“Treatment of affected calves or lambs can be provided by a private vet using an antitoxin.”

Landholders who suspect paralysis ticks in their stock are advised to contact their local private veterinarian in the first instance. 

More information on paralysis ticks is available by clicking here



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