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Ticks suck - literally

Have you happened to notice any ticks on your sheep, cattle or pets lately?

These are more than likely “Bush Ticks”, however it’s really important to have a close look at any ticks you might remove from stock to make sure they're not “Cattle Ticks” or “Paralysis Ticks”.

The easiest way to identify ticks is by checking out their legs:

  • Bush Ticks: have dark red/brown legs with the first pair close to the snout.
  • Cattle Ticks: legs are pale cream and there is a large gap between the first pair and the snout.
  • Paralysis Ticks: the first and last pair of legs are dark brown while the others are pale cream.

Bush Ticks were introduced to Australia from Northern Japan and were first seen in NSW in 1901. They affect all kinds of livestock, and are usually seen in summer, especially when there has been rain.  They don't usually have a big effect on sheep or cattle (unless they are present in huge numbers) and usually don’t warrant treatment.

Cattle Ticks were introduced on cattle that were imported from Indonesia to Darwin in 1872.  They spread tick fever and will kill cattle.  Central West NSW is a cattle tick FREE ZONE.  Cattle ticks are notifiable in NSW – this means that if you suspect you have cattle ticks, you are legally obliged to notify your Local Land Services office.

Paralysis Ticks are native, and live mainly on small marsupials in coastal areas.  We don't have paralysis ticks in Central West NSW either, however if you take your pets on holidays to the coast, or buy livestock from the coast, they could have paralysis ticks on them.  Paralysis ticks will kill calves, foals and domestic pets.

If you see any ticks on your animals, the best course of action is to remove them completely (including the entire head) and identify them by comparison to these descriptions.  If you're still unsure, pop them into a clean jar and drop them into your nearest Local Land Services office as soon as possible after removal.

All three ticks actually live a lot longer in the environment than they do sucking blood from an animal. The tick only lives for about three weeks on the animal, this is referred to as the parasitic stage. Bush and paralysis ticks are referred to as ‘three-host-ticks’ which means they attach to three hosts during the parasitic phase whereas cattle ticks are called ‘one-host-ticks’ because they stay on one host during the parasitic phase.

For further information relating to ticks or animal health in general, please contact your Local Land Services District Vet