Ticks pose a problem for outdoor pigs. They are easy to see on the pig due to the animal's lack of abundant fur. The pig's tough skin makes it difficult for ticks to penetrate but in the softer regions of the pig's hide the ticks have very little problem. Ticks tend to congregate in the ears, groin and neck region of pigs. They are uncomfortable for the pig and can cause anaemia and spread disease.
Both hard- and soft-bodied ticks infest pigs. Ticks generally infest pigs that are allowed to room in woodlands, underbrush or tall grass. The ticks often appear as large, engorged spots that resemble raisins dangling from areas such as the neck, groin, ears and armpits.
Features of Soft and Hard Ticks
Hard ticks penetrate the pig's skin and feed slowly, according to the University of Florida. Once the hard tick finishes feeding it drops from the pig to continue its life cycle. Soft ticks feed rapidly and can be overlooked because they usually crawl onto the pig when it is resting and lying down. Once on the pig the tick quickly takes a little bit of blood and then moves on its way without remaining attached to the pig for very long.
Dangers of Lyme Disease
Pigs suffering from ticks are at risk of contracting Lyme disease. Ticks carry and transmit Lyme disease. Hard tick species pose the most danger of carrying Lyme disease to pigs because a tick must remain attached to the pig for 24 hours before the disease can occur and only hard tick species feed slowly enough to transmit the disease. Prompt removal of ticks from the pig will help limit the danger of Lyme disease.
Control ticks on pigs by applying pig louse treatments that are labelled to also treat ticks, advises the Kentucky State University. If the ticks have infested the inside of the pig's ear canal, spray the louse spray directly into the pig's ear for prompt removal. Mange control shampoos and sprays are also effective on pigs against ticks.
Limit the pig's access to tick-infested woods. If the area of the pig pens appears to show strong infestations, spray and treat the entire area using a tick insecticide, says the Pig Site. Follow the instructions on the label for application.