Ticks

The time for greatest concern is late spring and early summer when ticks are in their nymph stage. So if you’re out enjoying nature, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself.

The tick images shown below are from the AHDC website and are courtesy of Kent Loeffler;

each includes a sesame seed for size comparison.

Ixodes scapularis (Black legged or deer tick) – This is the most common tick species identified in the Northeast USA. They will be tested for both the causative agents of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) and Anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum) within 5-7 business days. Results for tests in development for additional tick-borne disease agents may be provided later, including Babesia microti, Borrelia miyamotoi, and powassan virus.

Dog Tick

Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick) or Dermacentor andersoni (Rocky Mountain wood tick)These ticks will be tested for the causative agent of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other tick-borne Rickettsiae using an assay published by the CDC that is currently undergoing internal verification.

Brown Dog Tick

Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick) – These ticks will be tested for the causative agent of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other tick-borne Rickettsiae using an assay published by the CDC that is currently undergoing internal verification. Results for tests in development for additional tick-borne disease agents may be provided later, including Babesia canis, Ehrlichia canis, and Mycoplasma haemocanis.

Lone Star Tick

Amblyomma americanum (lone star tick) These ticks will be tested for causative agents of Ehrlichiosis using assays currently undergoing internal verification. We may contact submitters in the future if any additional developmental tests are positive.

  • Avoid walking through high grass and bushy areas. If you’re hiking, stay on trails.
  • Use insect repellent labeled for ticks (not appropriate for infants; follow instructions for use on children).
  • Wear light-colored clothing, and – to minimize skin exposure – long pants (with pants tucked into your socks) and long-sleeved shirts.
  • After outdoor activity, check yourself for ticks, paying close attention to the back of the knees, behind the ears, scalp, arm pits, and back. Check children and pets, too.

Read more from the source here . . .

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  4. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Read it at the source here . . .

Using a pair of tweezers is the most common and effective way to remove a tick. But not just any tweezers will work. Most household tweezers have large, blunt tips. You should use fine-point tweezers, to avoid tearing the tick and spreading possible infections into the bite area.

Spread your dog’s fur, then grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Very gently, pull straight upward, in a slow, steady motion. This will prevent the tick’s mouth from breaking off and remaining embedded in the skin. People often believe it’s the head of the tick that embeds in the skin. But ticks don’t have heads, in the conventional sense, so what gets inserted into your dog is known as “mouth parts.”

Another option that is even easier to master is the use of a tick removal hook. It’s especially useful if you live in a tick-dense area where you dog is frequently playing host to the vexing little critters. There are several types of hooks, like the Tick Twister or the Tick Stick. You simply put the prongs on either side of the tick and twist upward.

Read it from the source here . . .

  • Add 5ml (approximately one teaspoon) of rubbing/isopropyl alcohol to the jar or vial, covering tick.
  • Place the sealed jar or vial inside a leak-proof zipper-lock bag, also containing absorbent material sufficient to absorb at least 5 ml of liquid.

The AHDC currently offers tick testing services to members of the Cornell community, veterinarians, and the general public.

Tests Offered

Species Identification – It is important to identify a tick in order to understand what disease-causing agents (pathogens) the tick is capable of carrying and transmitting. The species of all submitted ticks will be identified by our parasitology section.

Molecular pathogen detection will be performed by our molecular section based on the tick species [above]. For public and Cornell-affiliate submissions, the appropriate PCR testing is included in the submission fee and will be automatically performed. Veterinarians submitting ticks for identification should call the lab with any PCR requests once the species result is received.

DO NOT WAIT FOR RESULTS OF THIS TESTING TO CONSULT A PHYSICIAN REGARDING POSSIBLE TREATMENT. POSITIVE RESULTS DO NOT NECESSARILY INDICATE THAT AN INFECTION HAS BEEN TRANSMITTED.

Commonly identified ticks in North America that are potential vectors of human/animal pathogens and the molecular tests for detecting important pathogens are shown below. For other tick species, our subject-matter experts can suggest additional appropriate testing (for veterinarians) or will add tests as appropriate (for non-veterinarian submissions).

General Public Submission Form

For more information, please visit their website here . . .