Vets have reported a higher incidence than normal of tick-borne diseases in 2017 to date.

Members of the XLVets Ireland group have seen more cases of redwater (babesiosis), tick-borne fever and anaplasmosis in cattle this year.

Galway-based vet Conor Geraghty told the Irish Farmers Journal that tick-borne diseases often occur where farmers rent or buy land that has previously been under-grazed.

The high grasses and rough vegetation provide the ideal breeding ground for ticks, particularly when combined with warm and moist weather conditions.

“You’ll also see ticks living in the long grass and rough edges along farm roadways,” said Geraghty.

“The season for tick problems is usually May to September but not limited to that if the conditions are right,” he added.

Redwater or babesiosis is caused by the parasite Babesia divergens, which is carried by ticks.


Early signs of redwater include animals staying away from the herd on their own, reduced appetite, a hollow left flank, high temperature, frothy urine with a red-brownish colour and thin diarrhoea.

In the later stages, the animal will become weak and stagger, the colour of skin and mucous membranes will change from pink to pale or yellow, it will become constipated and die.

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