North Carolina

Ticks kill 5 cows in North Carolina, so keep a close eye on your pets, state warns

Tick infestations have killed five cows on one North Carolina farm, state agriculture officials say. They warn livestock and pet owners need to be vigilant and help protect animals from ticks during the summer.

North Carolina State Veterinarian Doug Meckes said, “The deceased young bull brought to our Northwestern Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab had more than 1,000 ticks on it and the owner had lost four other cattle under the same circumstances.”

“The deaths of five cows in Surry County were linked to acute anemia caused by tick infestations,” according to a release from the state Department of Agriculture. The state confirmed the ticks were Asian longhorned ticks, an invasive species known for being an aggressive biter.

Surry County is along the border with Virginia, northwest of Winston-Salem.

“This is the fourth confirmed case (of Asian longhorned ticks) in North Carolina since 2018, and the first case reported this year. Previous cases were found in Polk, Rutherford and Davidson counties,” Meckes said in the press release.

Asian longhorned ticks were first reported in the United States in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been no known cases of people getting sick from Asian longhorned ticks in the United States, according to the CDC. But, the CDC said, “In other countries, bites from these ticks can make people and animals seriously ill.”

The state says people should check pets and livestock for ticks regularly, and talk to a veterinarian about treatment options to prevent ticks on animals.

“Prevention remains the best method to deter tick-borne illnesses. Protect yourself while outdoors by wearing long clothing, wearing permethrin-treated clothing, and using DEET, picaridin, and other EPA-approved repellants,” the state Agriculture Department said.

It is also good practice to shower immediately once you return home” and check for ticks, the department said.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.