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Check For Adult Ticks and Prevent Theileria

06 November 2013

NEW ZEALAND – Farmers and Veterinarians must unite against a new Ikeda strain to limit the spread of the blood-borne parasite Theileria, advises Dairy New Zealand.

North Island cows are at risk from high fever and anaemia as mature ticks seek a blood meal from livestock before eggs are laid.

“It’s called questing,” said Dr Nita Harding, animal husbandry team leader at Diary New Zealand.

This takes place in the adult cycle of the tick’s life where a cow acts as a ‘host’ for a meal, she explained, adding that cases have been on the increases since late 2012.

"The adult tick will only be on the host animal for about a week. After feeding it drops back onto pasture where it lays up to 2000 eggs over a three week period and then dies.”

Eggs hatch three to six months later from larvae and the cycle repeats. This is key to understanding how Theileria is spread across a herd, she added.

"Theileria is not transmitted from one generation of ticks to the next via eggs, so each new generation of ticks becomes infected by feeding on cattle with Theileria. Reducing the numbers of larvae, nymphs and adult ticks will limit the opportunity for Theileria to be spread within and between herds," added Dr Harding.

Farmers must be vigilant and utilise Dairy New Zealand fact sheets and veterinary expertise, she concluded.


TheCattleSite News Desk

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