NTA Tick Surveillance Program

by Dr. Tom Khun

TickHave you heard about the National Tick Assessment program?  That is what I think we should be doing when we find a tick on ourselves or our pets.  Remove the tick with tweezers, place it in a zip-lock bag and take it to your veterinary office for identification.  Knowing the species of tick will help your physician or veterinarian zero in on the tick-borne disease the tick may carry.  Certain ticks carry certain diseases and not others.  For example:  A Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) carries Tularemia disease, Ehrlichiosis, Tick Paralysis and on cats can transmit Cytauxzoonosis.  Whereas, the American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) transmits Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, babesiosis, Tularemia and Tick Paralysis but not Erhlichiosis. There are at least six common species of ticks and at least eight common diseases.  When you or your pet becomes ill, the doctor will know the likely diseases to test for and treat.

Certain areas of the country are hot-beds for certain species of ticks.  The Brown Dog Tick (Ripicephalus sanquineus), which can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Erhlichiosis, and Babesiosis, is found throughout the U.S. and even worldwide, but the American Dog Tick doesn’t inhabit the Rocky Mountain area of the country.  If you go on vacation with your pet and pick up a hitch-hiker you hadn’t counted on, take the tick to your veterinary office, have it identified and you and your pet will have additional information to help you both stay safe and healthy.

Have questions about ticks?  Vets are standing by.

In his daily clinical practice Dr. Kuhn has a special interest and advanced training in ultrasonography, knee surgery, dentistry, and pain management. Dr. Tom Khun  is owner of two animal hospitals in Asheville, NC.

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One Comment

September 1, 2013 at 19:27

The most “fun” was when we decided to have a tick we found on Jasmine tested for Lyme. Nobody, except Fedex was willing to ship a dead tick submerged in alcohol across the border to Cornell. Yay Fedex.

The tick WAS positive. Fortunately, follow up blood testing was negative.