health impacts of ticks on livestock production

The Health Impacts of Ticks on Livestock Production, It’s Control and Characteristics.

The Control, Characteristics and Health Impacts of Ticks on Livestock Production

The health impacts of ticks on livestock production affect the livestock farmer adversely with serious economic loss, therefore the knowledge and control of ticks become imperative.


Ticks are known to be blood tasty and feeding ectoparasites organism that feeds on livestock’s, mammals and birds.


They are more prevalent in countries with warm and humid climatic conditions because low temperatures inhibit their development from egg to larva.


Ticks cannot survive without blood, they are the most important ectoparasites of livestock in tropical and sub-tropical areas.


And are responsible for severe economic losses both through the direct effects of blood-sucking and indirectly as carriers of various livestock diseases.


The health of farm animals is significantly compromised direct or indirect by ticks sucking blood.


Causing significant losses in the production of livestock and meat, milk, eggs, hides, and skins, and in many cases leads to the death of the affected animals. 


External parasites such as ticks, mites, flies, fleas, midges, etc., which attack the body surface. Among ectoparasites, ticks are very important and harmful blood-sucking external parasites of mammals, birds, and reptiles throughout the world.


health impacts of ticks on livestock production

Ticks before and after sucking blood

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Characteristics, And Taxonomy Classification of Ticks  


  • Ticks are basically ectoparasites of livestock that belong to the Phylum Arthropod, Class Arachnida, and order Acari.


Ticks’ species are grouped into three families:


  • Argasidae or soft ticks.


  • Ixodidae or hard ticks.


  • Nuttalliellidae which exhibits intermediate characteristics.


  • The body of ticks is covered by a small projection called mammillae in the soft body tick.


  • They are night feeders at the adult stage and hide themselves during the day.


  • The hard tick’s body is covered with a chitinous plate called a scutum.


  • The outside surface, or cuticle, of soft ticks, expands but does not grow to accommodate the large volume of blood ingested, which may be anywhere from 5 to 10 times their unfed body weight.


  • There is sexual dimorphism that is, the male and female are different from each other.


  • The male is small and does not suck blood, but the female is large and bloodsucking.


  • many soft ticks have an uncanny resistance to starvation and can survive for many years without a blood meal.


  • The scutum of the male is relatively much larger than that of the female.


  • The outside surface, or cuticle, of hard ticks, actually grows to accommodate the large volume of blood ingested, which, in adult ticks, may be anywhere from 200 to 600 times their unfed body.


  • After mating, the female tick engorges blood very rapidly and drops off the host.


  • The eggs are usually laid in batches.


  • Through blood-sucking, they become carriers of pathogens and toxins.


  • They later hatch to larvae, the larvae develop into nymphs and later into adults.


  • The period from eggs to adults is between three and six months sometimes it takes a year.


  • Ticks are responsible for severe economic losses to livestock production in the world and have an adverse effect on livestock hosts in several ways.


symbiotic relationship in the control of ticks

A symbiotic relationship in the control of ticks


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Health Impacts of Ticks on Livestock Production

  • Ticks transmit diseases, produce paralysis or toxicosis, and cause physical damage to livestock.


  • They cause severe loss of blood by feeding in large numbers, ticks cause a reduction in live weight and anemia among domestic animals.


  • These may eventually lead to the death of the host.


  • Its bite causes great and serious irritation to its host.


  • It can transmit tick fever and heartwater diseases.


  • Ticks caused a lot of irritation, unrest, and serious physical damages to livestock. As a result of a massive infestation.


  • Capable of causing severe dermatitis.


  • Ticks affect milk production in cattle.


  • Injuries or wounds from its bites may lead to a secondary infection.


  • Tick bites also reduce the quality of hides and skins.


  • Its wounds may attract flies which lay their eggs again, the larva may be formed.


  • Injuries may result in ulcerated wounds.


  • Their bite and feeding are capable of causing paralysis by the injection of a toxin Examples are paralysis caused by the feeding of Dermacentor andersoni, sweating sickness caused by Hyalomma truncatum, Australian tick paralysis caused by Ixodes holocylus, and tick toxicosis caused by Rhipicephalus species.


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control of ticks in livestock production


Control of Tick in Livestock Production


  • Regular dipping of animals in solutions containing acaricides is one of the methods that can be used to reduce tick-borne diseases.


  • The application of any one of a number of acaricides applied either as a spray or by dipping.


  • The use and choice of acaricide depend largely on the persistence of the compound on the skin and hair coat.


  • A wide range of acaricides, including arsenical, chlorinated hydrocarbons, organophosphates, carbamates, and synthetic pyrethroids are being used for controlling ticks on farm animals.


  • Though the use of some of the acaricides comes with some shortfalls such as the risk of causing acute toxicity in livestock, short residual effectiveness (less than one to two days), and resistance to the chemicals.


  • Chlorinated hydrocarbon acaricides are very persistent and have been used extensively throughout the world for controlling ticks.


  • Spray animal bedding with insecticides.


  • Symbiotic and Biological control by introducing cattle egret to pick out the ticks.


  • Pasture burning can also be used to effectively control ticks as it significantly reduces tick populations on pasture.


  • The use of disease resistance cattle line with enhanced genetic makeup.


  • Other tick control measures include immunization against ticks.


  • Zero grazings and cow fattening is a good method of eliminating tick infestation, as most of the ticks a picked from outdoor grazing.


  • Adopt rotational grazing techniques.


  • Cull infected and very sick animal from the flock.


  • Isolate new animals in order to avoid infecting other livestock with ticks until it is proven to be tick free.


  • In small management systems inspect and handpick ticks from the body of farm animals. This should be a routine exercise.


  • Burning of infected pasture in order to kill all types of tick.



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