NASHVILLE – Tick season is in full swing, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) wants citizens to be aware of the potential harm to animals.

Specifically, livestock owners and pet owners should be aware of the Asian longhorned tick (ALT) which appears to be spreading across the state. White and Grainger Counties have joined the list of Tennessee counties with ALT detections, bringing the total to ten counties. Four of which—Cocke, Jefferson, Roane, and Union Counties—have established populations.

TDA and researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) collaborate in a tick-surveillance network to curb the threat of ALT and equip farmers and pet owners with strategies to protect their animals.

“Tennessee has a variety of ticks and the Asian longhorned tick in particular can cause extensive damage to livestock,” Dr. R.T. Trout Fryxell, Associate Professor of Medical and Veterinary Entomology for UTIA, said. “We want to raise awareness about ticks so people will take preventative measures for their animals and know what to do if they find their livestock or pet has a bite.”

The ALT appears to adapt to a variety of temperatures and is known to be active in Tennessee from March until the end of November.

The ticks have been found on pets, livestock, wildlife, and people. The CDC reports that there is no evidence that the tick has transmitted any infectious agent to humans in the U.S., but work in Virginia suggests this tick can transmit Theileria orientalis Ikeda to cattle.

“Asian longhorned ticks pose a threat to livestock and other animals,” State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty said. “The ability of this tick to transmit diseases endemic to the U.S. is not completely understood. However, this tick is known to transmit anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, theileriosis, rickettsiosis as well as several viruses in other parts of the world. Severe infestations can lead to significant blood loss and, in some cases, death.”

Experts offer the following tips to prevent tick bites in pets and livestock:

  • Coordinate with your veterinarian to apply proper pest prevention on pets and livestock.
  • Monitor your animals for any changes in health.
  • Check pets and livestock for ticks frequently.

If your animal is bitten by a tick, remove the tick as quickly as possible by pulling from the attachment site of the tick bite with tweezers, place in a ziplock bag, and record the date and location the tick was encountered. Send the sample to your local University of Tennessee Extension office or UTIA for identification.

For additional information about ALT, visit To find more information on tick-borne diseases, visit

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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