Tick infestation is one of the major problems of livestock industry in tropical and subtropical countries throughout the world. Likewise, in Pakistan, tick infestation is also a main impediment for livestock raisers in general and dairy farmers in particular. Ticks cause significant losses to the cattle industries. Ticks cause heavy blood losses in cattle. Each engorged female B. microplus can reduce the weight gain by 1.37 g incattle. They also play an important role in the transmission of protozoal, bacterial, viral and ricketssial diseases. Control of ticks largely depends on the use of synthetic acaricidal drugs but there are a number of problems with this strategy. Ticks have striking ability to become resistant to the toxic effects of the chemicals. A large number of ticks have become resistant to various synthetic compounds. In Pakistan, a well organized dairy production system dose not exists. Most of the farmers are small holders, who usually keep 20-40 cattle/buffalo for milk production, in cattle colonies established outside the boundaries of cosmopolitan areas. During the season of peak tick infestation these farmers usually use the injection of avermectins to keep their dairy animals free of ticks. High cost of avermectin injections compared to treatment with other wetable acaricides, treatment cost paid to veterinary staff for drug administration and time consumed in handling of individual animals for injecting the drugs are major drawbacks associated with this practice. Use of plunge dips is the most economical and easiest method of treating large animals with acaricides in less time. In this method only three to four people can treat hundreds of animals at one time. But, construction of dipping vat is not feasible for individual farmer (small holder) due to high cost involved in construction.
Present study consists of two parts, first a study on development of acaricide resistance will be conducted. Purpose of this study is to check if acaricides currently being used by farmers are still effective against ticks as many farmers report the problem of treatment failure. This will results in finding out the most effective drug. Second part of this study is construction of mobile dip, a dip has been designed which can be shared by farmers at community level and is transportable from one place to another, for use. After this study, the use of most effective drug and mobile dip will reduce the treatment cost and labor involved in treatment process. Ultimately, new tick control method will result in decrease of losses due to tick borne diseases and increase in milk production from parasite free animals, resulting in increased GDP.
- Detection of development of resistance in ticks, against acaricides currently being marketed in Pakistan.
- Construction of mobile dip, (i) which can be shared by dairy farmers on community level (to reduce time and cost involve in acaricide treatment) and (ii) could be transported to different areas.
Achievements during the period under report (2008-09):
The taxonomic identification of the tick specimens collected from the study area revealed the presence of more than one type of species on the domestic ruminants. The species identified were Hyalomma marginatumand Boophilus microplus (see Fig.). During the First farmers day it was observed that farmers have very little or no knowledge of tick born diseases and risk factors associated with tick infestation. But letter at the end of one year, targeted community was very well aware of tick and tick borne pathogens and associated problems. During the first year of project farmers were educated about the different tick control strategies. After the construction of dip, animals of the whole village were successfully treated with the acaricide.
During these activities farmers realized that how dangerous the ticks are for their animals. They also realized the importance of keeping the animals free from tick infestation. It was the results of the extensive on farm education program that farmers started contacting the Principal investigator for advice on subsequent incidence of tick infestation. During the first year of project 58 farmers participated in the activities.