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Sheep Ticks

What are ticks?

Ticks are small, blood-sucking ectoparasites that attach to the sheep by biting into the skin. The main sheep tick is the castor bean tick, Ixodes ricinus. This is a three-host tick, meaning each stage feeds on a different host detaching and moulting between hosts. Ticks thrive in areas of rough grazing, moorland, heath or woodland, as they need dense, damp environments in order to survive when they are not feeding on an animal. They don't jump or fly, but are picked up by animals as they brush through vegetation.

Why are ticks an issue to sheep?

Ticks can have significant effects on sheep welfare and production, and recent studies suggest ticks are becoming more numerous and widespread throughout the UK. In sheep, they transmit three important diseases:

  • Louping ill - symptoms are wobbly gait, trembling, seizures or even sudden death
  • Lamb pyaemia (“cripples”) - resulting from infected tick bites, can cause lameness, paralysis, ill thrift and death in young lambs
  • Tick borne fever (TBF) - causes reduced immunity (respiratory / joint infections) and reproductive problems.

Adult ticks will also feed on humans where they can transmit Lyme's disease, a potentially debilitating disease.

When are ticks a particular issue to sheep?

Ticks are primarily a problem in the spring, from March - June, when they are actively prospecting for a host on which to feed. However, mild winters will lead to tick activity as early as January or February. In some western parts of the country there is also an additional autumn rise in numbers, from August - November. The numbers of ticks are becoming more abundant due to changes in farming practice; agricultural environment management such as not burning bracken; climate change and acaricide resistance.

How can ticks be controlled?

Prevention is the best form of treatment! Ticks can be prevented through the use of synthetic pyrethroid based pour-ons containing cypermethrin such as Crovect™ Pour On which delivers persistent efficacy of 10 weeks, with the majority of ticks being killed within 3 hours. Other treatment options are alphacypermethrin or deltamethrin, or a diazinon organo-phosphate based plunge dip.

How to apply Crovect – which nozzle for which parasite

How to use the different nozzles with the Crovect applicator

CLiK® EXTRA 65 mg/ml Pour-On Suspension for sheep contains dicyclanil and is indicated for the prevention of blowfly strike on sheep caused by Lucilia sericata or Wohlfahrtia magnifica. CLiK® Pour-On for sheep contains 5% (w/v) dicyclanil and is indicated for the prevention of blowfly strike due to Lucilia sericata or Wohlfahrtia magnifica on sheep CLiKZiN® Pour-On Suspension for Sheep contains the active ingredient dicyclanil and is indicated for the prevention of blowfly strike on sheep due to Lucilia sericata. Crovect® Pour-On for sheep contains 1.25% (w/v) cypermethrin (cis:trans/80:20). For the treatment and control of headflies, tick infestation with a persistent efficacy of 10 weeks (the majority of ticks killed within 3 hours) and treatment of biting lice in sheep. Also for the prevention and treatment of blowfly strike in sheep. Legal category for all: POM-VPS Information regarding the side effects, precautions, warnings and contra-indications can be found in product packaging and leaflets; further information can also be found in the Summary of Product Characteristics. CLiK® EXTRA, CLiK®, CLiKZiN®, Crovect®, FleeceBind™, Elanco™ and the diagonal bar™ logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. Use medicines responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible). Advice should be sought from the prescriber prior to use. PM-UK-21-0204