A new and invasive tick is spreading along the east coast and has recently been found on cattle in East Tennessee. Since its first known identification in the U.S. in 2017, the Asian Longhorned Tick (ALT) has been found in 15 states including Tennessee. The Asian Longhorned Tick can cause severe blood loss when found in large numbers and is known to carry several diseases.
One disease of particular concern for cattle is Theileria orientalis (genotype ikeda). T. orientalis ikeda is a blood-borne parasite with clinical signs in cattle including anemia, lethargy, difficulty breeding, decreased production, and potentially causes late term abortions in some cattle. Once an animal is infected, there is no specific treatment, and becomes a carrier of the infection for life. T. orientalis ikeda causes more severe disease compared to other Theileria organisms and is associated with the Asian Longhorned Tick. Understanding herd infection status can help producers make decisions on herd additions, culling, and tick management.
Asian Longhorned Ticks can be found in forest-field edges and pastures. They prefer the neck, tail, and groin region, and are most active from April through August. Recommended tick management strategies include keeping pastures short and applying appropriate tick prevention treatments. In partnership with the University of Tennessee and Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Diagnostic Lab, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working to collect tick and blood samples from cattle to help identify the spread and location of the Asian Longhorned Tick and Theilieria orientalis ikeda in Tennessee.
Cattle producers and veterinarians are encouraged to submit samples for testing at no cost to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Cattle producers will have the option to receive sample results upon request. Information gathered will be used to create county-level maps of tick and Theileria distribution, but farm-level and ownership information will not be shared publicly. If you would like to submit any tick samples for identification or blood samples for Theileria testing, please contact the State Veterinarian’s office and a local field staff member can provide supplies and assist in sample collection.
To Request Free Sampling Supplies or More Information Contact:
Tennessee Department of Agriculture