Longhorned Tick May Pose a Threat to Livestock, Including Horses

The Asian Longhorned Tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis has now been found in five New Jersey counties (Hunterdon, Union, Middlesex, Mercer, and Bergen) as well as Westchester County, N.Y.

The tick is known to be found on people and animals (deer, horses, and others). They pose a hazard to hunters and their dogs, as well as other outdoors enthusiasts.  In addition to the risk of having the tick attach, human traffic, including transport of hunter-killed deer, can move the tick from one location to another.

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If you find a suspected Longhorned Tick on you, your pets, horses, livestock, or harvested deer, collect the tick for animal health officials to identify. For information on this process in New Jersey and general information about the tick and preventative measures, visit the Division of Fish and Wildlife web site.

In New York, contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Division of Animal Industry at 518-457-3502 or dai@agriculture.ny.gov.

In mid-July, the New York State Departments of Health and Agriculture & Markets cautioned residents, visitors and farmers about the continued importance of taking measures to protect against ticks, as the longhorned tick was recently discovered in multiple locations in Westchester County.

New York State Department of Health research scientists collaborated with researchers at Fordham University and at the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center of New York Medical College to identify these ticks. The identifications were confirmed by the Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

While the longhorned tick has transmitted disease to humans in other parts of the world, more research is needed to determine whether this can happen in the United States.

This tick is also a concern for the agricultural industry and may pose a threat to livestock. Farmers should continue to work with their veterinarians to check their animals, particularly cattle, sheep and horses, for exposure to ticks and to ensure their parasite control plans are up to date and working. Symptoms of tick-borne disease in cattle include fever, lack of appetite, dehydration, weakness and labored breathing.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets encourages livestock owners and veterinarians to also be vigilant for unusually heavy tick infestations. The longhorned tick is not native to the United States and is commonly found in Australia, New Zealand and eastern Asia. However, these ticks have been also been found recently in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Taking steps to protect yourself, your children and pets against ticks is the best way to prevent tick bites and tickborne diseases. We will continue to conduct surveillance and research on this new type of tick, but it is encouraging that the same steps that protect against deer ticks are also effective against the longhorned tick."

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "While we continue to learn more about the longhorned tick, it is evident that this species may possibly cause illness not only in humans, but also in livestock and our pets. We encourage farmers to be vigilant and keep a watchful eye out for this tick to protect their animals and stay ahead of any potential problems for the livestock industry in New York State."

Tick Prevention Tips

While hiking, working, or spending time in wooded areas:

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect against ticks other biting insects.
  • Check for ticks often while outdoors and brush off any ticks before they attach.
  • Perform a full body check multiple times during the day, as well as at the end of the day to ensure that no ticks are attached.
  • Consider use of repellents containing DEET, picaridin or IR3535, following label instructions.

If you have been bitten by a tick of any kind, contact your health care provider immediately if you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms.

For more information about Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, visit:https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme/.

Strangles Quarantine Lifted In New York

The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets released the quarantine for strangles at Barn 19 at Finger Lakes Race Track and the associated equine facility in Ontario County, N.Y. at the end of July.

The index case continues to heal from his lesions and remains isolated alone in a paddock in Ontario County. He will remain isolated away from other horses under veterinary care until it is determined that he is no longer shedding S.equi. No other cases of strangles were detected in any of the exposed, quarantined horses during the quarantine period, according to the EDCC.  

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has been advised that several horses that were on the premises of the Big E fairgrounds in West Springfield, Mass. as far back as July 22 have been confirmed to have Equine Coronavirus, according to the Equine Disease Communications Center (EDCC).

One infected horse has been euthanized. In addition, a horse that was stabled at home with an affected horse, but was not actually at the fairgrounds, also has a confirmed ECV diagnosis. The horses originated from different states and barns, and were seen by more than one veterinary referral hospital. The barns at the Big E fairgrounds have been emptied, cleaned and disinfected, according to the EDCC.

According to the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s website: “Infected horses tend to have fevers exceeding 102oF, lose their appetites and appear depressed and lethargic. Typically, these signs resolve in one to four days with minimal treatment. Less commonly, horses might experience one or two days of diarrhea or loose feces and signs of mild colic such as flank watching and lying down. In rare instances, other complications can occur, such as septicemia (bloodstream infection), endotoxemia (endotoxins from bacteria released in the bloodstream), and encephalopathy (a brain disorder). These complications are associated with coronavirus breaking down the intestinal tract barrier, which allows bacteria and their byproducts to enter the bloodstream.”

The disease is spread through fecal matter and although highly contagious, the mortality rate is low, according to the AAEP site.

Rumors of EHV-1

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is aware of an unsubstantiated report of EHV-1 in Farmington, N.Y., according to the EDCC There is no evidence of an EHV-1 incident anywhere in New York State at this time nor is any equine facility in the state under quarantine or investigation for EHV-1. The Department of Agriculture and Markets is working to contact the source of the unsubstantiated report. As of Aug. 3, no new information had been reported to the EDCC.

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