Iowa State Extension warning livestock producers about tiny tick

Photo: Iowa State Extension/James Gathany

(Ames, IA) -- Midwest livestock producers are being warned about a tiny tick that's been found in many eastern U.S. States, threatening livestock. Iowa State University Extension Veterinarian Grant Dewell says the Asian longhorned tick is native to East Asia, it has not been found in the Midwest yet, but he says livestock producers should watch for it. He says it's about the size of a sesame seed but can reproduce rapidly, laying up to 2,000 eggs.

“Native ticks are known to carry blood borne diseases such as Anaplasmosis,” said Grant Dewell, associate professor and extension beef veterinarian at IowaStateUniversity. “The Asian longhorned tick could potentially transmit these diseases once exposed, as well as other blood borne diseases that are not common in the U.S.”

In New Zealand, these ticks are known to spread Theileria orientalis Ikeda, and so far one similar occurrence has been documented in Virginia. Livestock can die from this disease or even from blood loss due to large numbers of ticks attached. 

“Additionally, the sheer number of ticks feeding on individual animals can cause negative impacts on health,” said Dewell. “Producers should be on the lookout for the Asian Longhorn tick and unusual symptoms in livestock.”

Dewell says the Asian Longhorned tick looks like the brown dog tick, and can be easy to miss. The brown dog tick has two spots that resemble eyes near the edge of its body, which are missing from the ALT.

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