Monday, May 28, 2012

Ticks wanted dead or alive!


The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in Saskatchewan, Canada, have launched a study into tick borne disease in the area.

A research team headed by Dr. Katharina Lohmann has initiated a pilot study into the prevalence of equine granulocytic anaplasmosis (A. phagocytophilum infection) and Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi infection) in Saskatchewan horses. Both bacteria are transmitted in Canada primarily by the black legged tick, Ixodes scapularis. 

Curently, these infections are not common in Canada. There have been only three cases of anaplasmosis reported in horses in the country, one of which was found in Saskatchewan in 2010. 

Dr Lohmann explains that Ixodes scapularis is not thought to be established in Saskatchewan, but individual ticks may be carried in from different areas of the country and from the U.S. by migrating birds.

The first phase of the study will examine blood samples collected from horses in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The research team expect to find antibodies to A. phagocytophilum or B. burgdorferi in about two per cent of horses.

In order to better understand which species of ticks are relevant to horses, the researchers are asking veterinarians and horse owners to submit any ticks found on horses within Saskatchewan.

So far, the species of tick submitted to the survey includes Dermacentor albipictus (winter or moose tick), Dermacentor andersoni (Rocky Mountain wood tick) and Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick).

The WCVM research team would be pleased to receive ticks of any life stage (including larva, nymph and adult stages) and are actively seeking tick submissions over the next two years (2011-2013).

More details of the tick survey, including how to submit ticks found on horses, are available at:


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