The Asian Longhorned Tick: What you need to know
Spring has sprung in many states across the USA and I don’t know about you but both of my dogs have been out and about – laying in sunbeams, helping us in the garden, and even venturing to the beach! As these warm days sneak up on us, we all need to remember the warmer weather exposes our pets to ectoparasites like fleas and ticks. And this year, there is a new tick to be concerned about, the Asian Longhorned tick, whose behavior makes using year round prevention more important than ever.
This tick is normally found in East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand but was found on a farm in New Jersey during the summer of 2017. Identified as the Asian Longhorned tick in the fall of the same year, this tick has since spread to Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The most concerning characteristics about this tick is the size, the way it reproduces, and the potential for it to transmit disease to us and to our pets!
Small but mighty
The Asian Longhorned tick is the size of a poppyseed and, after taking a blood meal, only enlarges to about the size of a pea. This makes it the smallest tick we have in our country and extremely difficult to see with the naked eye – much less being able to find it and remove it from our pets! In addition to being small, this tick does not die off during the winter. It burrows underground making infestations extremely difficult to manage.
One and done!
The most unique characteristic about this tick is the way it is able to reproduce. One fed female Asian Longhorned tick can produce 2,000 eggs by herself. Can you imagine 2,000 ticks on your dog? Such a heavy tick burden on one animal can cause severe anemia due to blood loss and even death.
We know this tick transmits disease overseas, but we have yet to learn what diseases it is spreading here in the USA. Lyme disease occurrence is up 5% across the country, but in states like Ohio we have seen a 76% rise in cases from 2017. Current research is being done to determine the threat this tick poses to the human and animal population, but with the potential to spread Lyme disease (among others), we need to protect our pets!
The best way to protect your dogs from this tick is to use year round flea and tick prevention that contains a repellent. Talk with your family veterinarian about products like Provecta Advanced for dogs and the Seresto collar. These products are able to discourage ticks from attaching to your dog, helping to prevent infestations and disease transmission – keeping all the members of the family safe so you can enjoy this warmer weather worry free!
Stay up to date on the Asian Longhorned tick by following MyVetandMe on Facebook and Instagram. You can learn more at CDC.gov
– Leigh Hofmeister, DVM