There are many insects around that people don’t like and none care for the infamous tick family, which can harm a person or even kill them as well as their pets and livestock.
Dr. Hollie Schramm, clinical assistant professor at VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine, was the special speaker at the Farm Bureau’s recent annual meeting. Her zeal in her talk was felt by most as she seemed adamant about the education of ticks and how each can harm someone or their animals.
President Jeannie Dudding shared that many had family members or animals that have been affected by ticks.
Schramm started out saying, “I really want to move to Craig County now, as I want to be a part of this, as it is really great to see what you are doing as a part of your community. I’ve worked at the Virginia-Maryland Vet school for 15 years, and yes, I am a Yankee, but here to stay.”
She talked of how sometimes urban kids need the same opportunities as rural kids, including hands-on agricultural experiences.
She added that she is an advocate for rural farmers, sharing with the urban kids of how hard farmers work to get food to the tables of everyone.
She began her presentation with, “I hate these creatures! Ticks can ride on anything, and they are everywhere and carry so many diseases.”
She suggested that everyone do checks often if they are in the woods, pastures or long grass, etc. as many wildlife animals that carry ticks are deer, squirrels, chipmunks, horses, dogs and raccoons.
Schramm gave a quick tick quiz, starting with Lyme disease and the most common deer tick.
She had people to raise their hands who had Lyme disease, which is a bacterial illness that is spread by bacteria in the tick’s bite.
She discussed many symptoms, which include the site looking like a “bulls-eye” lesion that turns red, flu-like feelings, fever, achy muscles, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, stiff neck, impacted nerves, rapid heart rate and confusion.
“The bacteria can actually hide for a while, so be aware,” she added.
She encouraged people to do tick protection on their dogs as well.
“They do have a Lyme vaccine for dogs as it is common in this area,” she said. “Even if your dog has tested positive but doesn’t have clinical signs, you can still vaccinate them for it.”
Lone Star Tick can cause meat allergies. Platelets don’t allow for clotting, and gums will bleed.
The American Dog Tick carries Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is one of the most severe diseases that affects humans in the United States and can kill if not identified immediately.
It usually is noted by a sudden high fever over 102 degrees, headache, abdominal pain, rash and muscle aches.
“It can cause tick paralysis in dogs,” Schramm explained. “You are less likely to have any problems if you remove the tick as soon as you see it.”
“The Asian Longhorn Tick in cattle is one we deal with most as we did not have this tick for a long time, but due to things coming into our country, we now have these,” she added. “They can also reproduce without two sexes and quickly.”
She showed slides of blood cells, explaining what happens and how it affects livestock and what specific symptoms to look for, including fever and lethargy.
Schramm gave examples of livestock she had treated, including what happened to them and where to look for symptoms.
She talked about them getting jaundice, which causes them to get anemic where their red blood cells can’t carry oxygen any longer and they breath more rapidly.
She encouraged owners to have “low stress processes” and good nutrition and mineral status.
“At Virginia Tech, we have developed a PCR test,” she said. “Most of the cows I see is sometimes a secondary finding.”
She spoke of prevention of Asian Longhorn Tick diseases, stating that when cattle are being rounded up they can be checked for ticks.
She talked of things such as Ivermectin and other things that help, including the Ivermectin impregnated ear tags, back rubbers and pour-ons.
She spoke of Theileria, an east coast fever which is an acute disease of cattle. It is characterized by high fever, swelling of the lymph nodes, dyspnea and has high mortality.
Schramm shared that anaplasmosis symptoms are fever, jaundice and anorexia, as well as weakness, loss of coordination and aggression which leads to difficulty breathing and rapid pulse and other symptoms.
Schramm also touched on Anaplasma, where cows will get aggressive.
Much more information was shared by Schramm and questions were asked by Farm Bureau members, which she answered.
She also reminded everyone, “Always advocate for yourself and get treated immediately if you suspect you may have anything from a tick bite.”
Leave a Reply