Northern NSW producers alerted to cattle tick fever

12 Mar 2024

Cattle ticks

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS) have reminded producers to be alert following the confirmation of tick fever on cattle properties in northern NSW.

NSW DPI Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute laboratory tests confirmed two positive cases of tick fever, Babesia bovis, from samples supplied by LLS district veterinarians (DV).

North Coast LLS DV, Phillip Carter, said producers should contact a vet immediately if cattle show signs of tick fever.

“If treatment is delayed tick fever can kill susceptible animals,” Dr Carter said.

“These are the first new confirmed cases of tick fever in NSW this year and we saw cattle tick infestations and cattle deaths during our inspection of the animals.

“Continued monitoring of the herd for more cases is important as animals may be infected, but not yet show signs.

“Unexplained deaths are often the first signs that tick fever is present.

“Producers should look out for lethargy, depression, red urine, elevated temperature, jaundice and anaemia in their animals.

“Tick fever spreads only by cattle tick and with favourable seasonal conditions for ticks, who thrive in warm, humid conditions, we urge producers to practice good farm biosecurity to prevent more cases.”

“Producers should check cattle regularly and be on the lookout for ticks, especially with cattle being yarded in preparation for autumn sales.”

NSW DPI Cattle Tick Operations leader, Larry Falls, said producers should immediately report cattle tick by calling the NSW DPI Cattle Tick Program, 02 6626 1201.

“Early intervention is key to minimising the spread and impact of cattle tick and tick fever,” Mr Falls said.

“The record of movement for cattle tick lists the mandatory biosecurity requirements which must be followed when bringing cattle from cattle tick infested areas into NSW.

“Following these biosecurity requirements helps prevent the introduction and spread of cattle ticks and minimises costs and losses to your enterprise and livestock industries.”

Tick fever and cattle tick are notifiable under NSW biosecurity legislation.

If you find sick or dead cattle, or suspect tick fever, immediately contact your LLS DV or call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline, 1800 675 888.

Cattle tick and tick fever are conditions which pose significant economic impact on cattle production in northern Australia due to potential large losses of animals, production losses, restrictions on trade and treatment costs.

Tick fever in cattle is a devastating condition that can cause fever, weight loss, abortion and bull infertility. Animals can show nervous signs, including change in temperament, lethargy, muscle tremors and difficulty walking.

Information about cattle tick and tick fever is available from the NSW DPI website,

Media contact: 02 6391 3686