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Are you doing your bit to control cattle tick?

North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarians are reminding producers to practice good farm biosecurity following the detection of cattle tick and tick fever on the NSW North Coast.

Around 100 head of cattle have died as a result of tick fever across several properties.

Affected properties in the area are now undergoing a NSW Department of Primary Industries supervised cattle tick eradication program. This includes tracing of cattle movements and monitoring and treating cattle to eradicate the tick and tick fever.  A number of additional properties also have movement restrictions in place until it can be proven cattle tick has not entered those properties.

Quarantining new or returning stock onto your property and providing suitable livestock health treatments to rid the animal of pests, disease and weeds is an effective method to stop issues crossing your farm gate said Dr Ian Poe, District Veterinarian with North Coast Local Land Services.

“Issues like this are a reminder to all producers that we must be vigilant with our biosecurity practices to prevent bringing diseases, pests and weeds onto our farms,” said Dr Poe.

“Holding new cattle in a yard and treating for internal and external parasites as well as vaccinating for key diseases is really a “must do” if you want to protect your stock and your farm.

“There are a range of tickicides and anthelmintics that treat for cattle tick as well products for other external parasites that may be a problem in different seasons, a combination drench is also a good choice for internal parasites and liver fluke.”

Dr Poe said regular monitoring and maintaining stock proof fencing is also essential.

“While cattle are in your quarantine yard or small paddock, they should be inspected daily for any signs of disease or pest infestation and only let out with other stock and access to the wider property when you are confident they are healthy and not harbouring diseases, pest or weed seeds,” Dr Poe said.

“Cattle tick is endemic in parts of Queensland, but fortunately is infrequently identified on the North Coast of NSW, and these properties are then subject to movement restrictions and undergo an eradication program.”

Cattle tick can carry a protozoal parasite that is injected into cattle when ticks attach and feed. The parasite causes fever, depression and anaemia. Affected animals may stagger, show nervous signs and have red coloured urine (redwater).

North Coast Local Land Services can help with tick identification to distinguish between cattle, paralysis and bush ticks. The key to identifying cattle ticks is its pale coloured legs and leg position.

“Investigating unusual illness in livestock and safeguarding agriculture is a key role of the District Vet team” said Dr Poe.

“But, we rely on producers to work with us and report unusual illness, exactly as the producers have done in this instance.

“Early reporting of an issue gives us the best chance of containing and eradicating a disease threat.”

Please contact your nearest Local Land Services office if you have any further questions about identifying ticks or biosecurity on your property on 1300 795 299.

Media contact:             Dr Ian Poe, District Veterinarian, Phone 0429 987 255

Image caption:            Cattle being treated for cattle tick as part of a DPI supervised eradication program