A test of the efficacy of immunizing cattle against Rocky Mountain wood ticks


  • P. R. Wilkinson Research Station Research Branch Agriculture Canada Lethbridge, AB
  • J. R. Allen Department of Veterinary Microbiology Western College of Veterinary Medicine University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK


Nine yearling steers were inoculated with an extract of <i>Dermacentor variabilis</i> (Say) suspended in aluminum hydroxide adjuvant in an attempt to increase their resistance to the feeding of <i>Dermacentor andersoni</i> Stiles. However, when these cattle were infested with <i>D. andersoni</i> ticks, there were no significant differences in the proportions of ticks feeding, or mean weights of fed ticks, in comparison with nine cattle treated with adjuvant only, or with two untreated cattle. Five of the cattle in each of the treated groups received additional ticks to test for susceptibility to tick paralysis. Three of the cattle treated with tick extract became paralysed. as did one of the cattle treated with adjuvant only. Serological responses to the immunizing antigen, assayed by indirect haemaglutination, were relatively weak. Some possible reasons for the ineffectiveness of the immunization, in contrast to earlier positive studies with guinea pigs and a few cattle, are discussed. The methods described should contribute to testing the practical efficacy of promising antigens as they are produced.


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