If you are familiar with country music, you may have heard the song ‘Ticks’ by Brad Paisley. We had to rescue one of our cows from these creatures!!
On one of our many checks, we found a cow who had pushed her calf out to its ribcage but then did not get up and so the baby died. At the time my husband was very upset at the cow for her failure to be a good mother; which would have been to get up and start licking her new baby. Three hours passed and low and behold the cow laid down and had a second baby, a twin. This baby was healthy and alive. At the time we thought that she was very rundown because she had carried twins. We had to supplement her baby with powdered colostrum because the mother’s milk had not yet come in. It seemed very difficult for the cow to get up. Again we attributed this to her rundown-twin carrying state. The next morning my husband thought: Ticks! So he went out to examine her and sure enough we pulled around 200 wood ticks off of her.
Some were engorged with her blood, which means that they could be giving off the toxin that causes paralysis! So, no wonder the poor ole girl could not get up easily! After the ticks were removed, we dusted her with an insecticide to deal with any that were left.
We had seen this a few years back, where ticks will attack a weakened cow. It seems the ticks put out a pheromone which attract more ticks.
After years of ranching, you have to learn from your past experiences to diagnose problems. It is satisfying when you can make the correct decision to save the cow and calf! The mother is quickly regaining her strength and her bouncing baby boy is doing great.