Dip

  • Most widely used for tick control, but can also be used for other specific external parasites.
  • It is a legal requirement in NT and WA to treat cattle being moved from known cattle tick areas to tick free zones (QLD legislation now allows treatment on property using an ML).
  • Ensure animals are fully submerged and completely soaked as they swim through the dip.
  • Experienced, careful management is important to ensure effective application.
  • Knowing the dip volume is essential to mix the correct concentration. See Management of a Plunge Cattle Dip.
  • Follow label instructions and ensure appropriate personal protective equipment is used.

Resistance

A parasite population can develop resistance to a chemical through:

  • Repeated use of the same active.
  • Wide-spread under-dosing of a chemical (e.g. under-estimating the weight of animals being treated, poor application technique, uncalibrated dosing, using understrength chemical wash).
  • Unintentionally exposing non-target parasites to chemicals (e.g. products to treat tick or lice can also affect worms).

What is resistance?

Pros

  • On contact kill provides instant relief.
  • Complete coverage of skin and hair with the chemical treatment.

Cons

  • Requires significant infrastructure and training.
  • Chemical concentration of dipping fluid must be maintained.
  • Ineffective against ticks that are in a moult stage of their lifecycle.

Safety

  • High risk of inadvertent chemical exposure. Dipping requires an excellent working knowledge and experience with the dipping process. Knowledge and training in safe chemical use is necessary for safety of both animals and workers when operating the dip.

Everyone working in the rural industry has a ‘duty of care’; a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace for everyone on the property.

Other information

How it works

The chemical is carried by the dipping fluid and deposited onto the skin binding on the hair of cattle as they are submerged and swim through the dip (Figure 1). Dip chemicals represent an on-contact kill but do not offer ongoing repellent for the same length of time as other chemicals do. Complete wetting of the animal gives complete skin/hair coverage with the chemical. Incomplete wetting leaves untreated areas where parasites can survive to re-establish the infestation when the chemical wears off.

Dip chemicals are ineffective against ticks that are in a moult stage of their lifecycle as the chemical cannot penetrate the moult shell.

Infrastructure

Dipping infrastructure or facilities are usually permanent structures, frequently built on large cattle farms official cattle farms, official tick clearing facilities and commercial facilities such as saleyards. They are generally unavailable on smaller farms due to the cost of the facility and maintenance of the chemical.

Dips are built to specifications that ensure full submersion of the animal including its head and ears.

A working understanding and experience in management of the dipping process is necessary for correct and safe application of chemical to animals.

Mandatory dipping

Treatment for cattle ticks is mandatory in preparation for movement of cattle into tick free areas. Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland have mandatory requirements to prevent the introduction of cattle tick from known tick infested areas to tick free areas. Certification of the dipping procedure for cattle movement across state borders or into tick free areas is required to be done in registered accredited premises with oversight by an inspector or accredited certifier.

In Queensland, movements of cattle into cattle tick free areas can also include on property clearance using an accredited certifier.

Stripping

Some compounds used for dipping are subject to ‘stripping’. This is when the dipping chemical is removed or ‘stripped’ from the dip at a faster rate than dip wash, leaving a lower concentration of active compound to the volume of water.

Labels for products that strip include instructions for reinforcement (adjusting the dip concentration with the addition of a concentrated chemical) and replenishment (topping up the dip with more chemical at the starting concentration) to maintain adequate concentrations of chemical in the dip wash. It is important these terms are understood and the label directions are followed.

Regular dip analysis should be conducted on dips used for cattle tick management or clearance to ensure that chemical levels remain sufficient enough to kill cattle tick. Dip concentrations that are too low will not kill cattle tick and may contribute towards chemical resistance. Dips with concentrations that are too high (hot dips) will also not sufficiently kill cattle tick and can be toxic to livestock.

Management instructions

Detailed information on management of dipping is important to successful application of chemical via this method. See Management of a Plunge Cattle Dip.

More information can also be found here Procedure for the use of chemical treatment on cattle tick carriers.

Figure 1. Cattle dip. Image courtesy of Scott Bauer Wikimedia CC
Figure 1. Cattle dip. Image courtesy of Scott Bauer Wikimedia CC