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Can subclinical infestation by paralyzing dermacentor andersoni (Acari: Ixodidae) induce immunity to tick paralysis in sheep?

Lysyk, T.J., Dergousoff, S.J. (2016). Can subclinical infestation by paralyzing dermacentor andersoni (Acari: Ixodidae) induce immunity to tick paralysis in sheep?, 53(3), 496-499. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjv248

Abstract

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 2016. Cattle and sheep can develop immunity to paralysis caused by Dermacentor andersoni Stiles; however, this has been reported only in animals that were initially challenged with a high dose of ticks and exhibited clear symptoms of paralysis. Paralysis in sheep occurs in a dose-dependent fashion, with no paralysis occurring in sheep exposed to <0.2 ticks per kilogram sheep weight, and 100% paralysis in sheep exposed to >0.8 ticks per kilogram. This experiment was conducted to determine if sheep exposed to a low dose of ticks would also develop immunity to paralysis. Sheep were exposed to either a low (0.2 ticks per kilogram) or high dose of ticks (0.8 ticks per kilogram), then re-exposed to a second challenge of a paralyzing dose of ticks. All naïve sheep (eight of the eight) were paralyzed, while paralysis occurred in only four of the eight sheep previously exposed to a low dose, and one of the eight sheep previously exposed to a high dose. Results indicate that immunity can develop when sheep are exposed to a subclinical dose of paralyzing ticks, but in a smaller percentage of animals than those exposed to a high dose of ticks. Vaccine development perhaps remains the best option for nonacaricidal control of tick paralysis.

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