Photos: Ingrid Pullen
Late winter and early summer in the warm zones of Australia are deadly times of year for smaller farm animals, especially newborns, because of the deadly paralysis tick. Young cows up to 4 months, sheep, goats, geese, cats and dogs can all die from the powerful neurotoxin of the paralysis tick. People can also suffer and be seriously effected if the ticks are not removed within a few hours.
There is no answer for complete protection, but we have found an organic method of repelling the ticks — an injection of ‘oil of turpentine‘ just under the skin — and we have been told from the regional farm vet that it is works by confusing ticks’ sense of smell. We know it works as we have not lost an animal to ticks since we started using it. We inject 5 ml for a new born calf after 72 hours, usually just under the skin of the neck. 3ml for a baby goat or sheep.
Note: ‘oil of turpentine’ (made from trees, usually pine) should not be confused with mineral turpentine, usually known as ‘white spirit‘, which is a petroleum-derived liquid that can be dangerous, and should not be used!
The animals are still considered organic and do not suffer from the treatment as long as the needle goes under the skin, between the flesh and the skin, so it is best to find an area of loose skin that can be lifted up so the needle can be carefully slipped under. It you inadvertently go into the flesh, the animal may develop an inflamed patch, but will recover.
This simple trick has saved many young lives.