The cattle tick is widely considered to be the most serious of the parasites that infest cattle in Northern Australia, as its effects can result in significant losses to both the beef and dairy industries.Not to be confused with the bush tick or the paralysis tick, it is most commonly found on cattle yet can also strike sheep, buffalo, deer, horses and other animals. They can be found anywhere on the body. Symptoms of cattle diseased by this pest can include high fever, loss of condition, a significant drop in milk production and even death.
Thistick’s life cycle is comprised of four stages. The engorged female ticks drop off the beast and lay their eggs, from which larvae hatch and travel up blades of grass. They can stay there for up to eight months before finding the right host walking by and brushing up against the grass. Once they’ve fixed themselves to a host body they feed for about seven days before shedding their skins and evolving into nymphs. Another week of feeding and moulting passes by as the nymph becomes an adult.
For yet another week the female adult continues to feed and then fills up with blood at the end of that period. She leaves the cattle and lays up to 3000 eggs in the pasture before dying. The eggs hatch into larvae after two to six months, depending on climate conditions and the time of the year.
The chemical Fluazuron is most commonly used to treat and preventcattle tick, but it’s important to be aware that this chemical works by interfering with the moulting process of the nymphs. Adults are not affected let alone killed by this chemical. The effect on the ticks affecting the animal is rather a slow process and it is not a suitable product to rapidly remove ticks from the animal such as when cattle have to cross a tick control line.
All of these Vetmecproducts provide a rapid knock down of ticks on the animal. Many authorities recommend a ‘mectin’ knock down product such as the Vetmecpouronand Vetmecinjection acouple of weeks prior to treatment with Fluazuron (such as Acatak)because it is understood that the lower the tick numbers (tick burden) in the cattle prior to the application of Flurazuron the more effective this product is in providing long term tick control. An added bonus is the worm drench effect in the cattle from treatment with these products
Treatment with Vetmec Injection or Vetmec F five days before presentation has been found to be highly effective in getting cattle to clear the ‘tick line’