Tick Fever Threat Following Floods

AUSTRALIA - As Queenslanders pull out all stops to clean up after widespread flooding, cattle ticks and tick fever are high on the agenda for primary producers.
calendar icon 28 January 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Biosecurity Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Rick Symons said as displaced livestock return home and lost livestock are replaced, owners should be aware new or returning animals could harbour cattle ticks.

"Livestock owners should treat their animals with an approved chemical by either plunge dipping, pour-on or injection," he said.

"Treated animals should be held close to the yards for seven to 10 days if possible and observed to ensure the chemical used is working effectively."

A second treatment may be needed before livestock are moved into other areas of the property.

Dr Symons said cattle ticks could cause tick fever which, if left untreated, had a high death rate in cattle.

"Livestock owners should undertake regular monitoring for signs of tick fever and implement a vaccination program to ensure sufficient immunity.

"Signs of tick fever include depression, weakness, jaundice, increased temperatures and staggering," Dr Symons said.

"Upon return to a property, displaced cattle should be dipped and observed daily for at least three weeks and then every few days for another five or six weeks, as tick fever could still be in the incubation period.

"Vaccination is the most practical and effective method of preventing tick fever in the long term, so livestock owners should have a program in place to minimise losses and maintain production."

Dr Symons said while very few ticks carried and transmitted tick fever, the impacts of tick fever were serious.

"Livestock owners should be extra cautious if tick numbers had been low in previous years," he said.

"Older animals may have built up a strong immunity to tick fevers, but if tick numbers have been low in recent years, young animals may not yet have been sufficiently exposed to build immunity."

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