New tick species concerning for cattle producers

Photo courtesy of USDA and enlarged to see more detail.
Photo courtesy of USDA and enlarged to see more detail.

The Asian Longhorned Tick is an extremely aggressive tick that can cause problems for cattle producers. 

Dr. Kathy Simmons, chief veterinarian for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the tick can cause stress and transmit diseases like Theileriosis.  “This is a protozoan disease that is similar to anaplasmosis,” she says.  “Animals that recover may be persistently infected.  The disease causes an infectious anemia in cattle.  Causes them to be unthrifty, have reproductive issues, abortions, and sometimes even death.”

She tells Brownfield the tick is difficult to see and is only about the size of a sesame seed and when engorged about the size of a small pea.  “If you identify a tick that you think is unusual and have not seen it before you need to contact your local state animal health authorities,” she says.  “They will have that tick identified for you.”

Simmons says producers’ best bet is awareness and education to start, and then basic tick control. “Many of our products are not licensed or labeled for use for these Asian Longhorned ticks because it is an exotic, invasive species,” she says.  “But many of the tick products that are effective against other ticks will work.” 

Simmons says the tick is extremely mobile, can easily be spread through other hosts, and adapts well to a variety of climates.  It was first identified in the US in 2017 and has now been found in 17 other states primarily in the East and in the South.  The tick species originated from Asia, but is now endemic in New Zealand and Australia.  

AUDIO: Dr. Kathy Simmons, NCBA chief veterinarian 

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