The rains are gone and floods are receding, but the ticks are just getting started. Conditions are ripe for ticks, and some livestock producers are already reporting high levels of tick infestations on their cattle, says David Fernandez, Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Ticks can be treated with dips, sprays, pour-ons or ear tags.

Ticks can cause many problems. In sheep and goats, severe infestations can cause animals to become anemic. Ticks are also the primary transmitter of anaplasmosis and Erlichosis. Erlichosis has recently been reclassified by medical scientists as anaplasmosis. Anaplasmosis causes severe anemia and can kill livestock in a matter of hours.

Older cattle are much more susceptible to the most severe forms of the disease than are calves or heifers. Cows infected with anaplasmosis may experience rapid weight loss, off-feed, lack of coordination, breathlessness and brown urine. Cows may also run a fever up to 106 F, and pregnant cows may abort.

Anaplasmosis is treated with the antibiotic tetracycline. Contact your veterinarian for information about the correct dosage and its potential side effects. Fernandez reminds producers who administer the antibiotic to inject it in the neck muscle and to observe the withdrawal period. A vaccine for anaplasmosis is approved for use in the United States, but it may not be available everywhere.