Animal Health Diagnostic Center

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Parasitology


Tick Evaluation at the AHDC

Ticks are increasingly encountered in our environment, most often as unwelcome guests identified attached to a pet, child or us. 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 most common tick identified at the AHDC has been Ixodes scapularis, also called the black legged tick or deer tick. While this tick has recently been common in the area, there has been an increase in the proportional number of these ticks testing positive at the AHDC for both the Lyme disease agent (Borrelia burgdorferi), and Anaplasma (Anaplasma phagocytophilum) over the last several years. The AHDC has seen increasing numbers of local animals testing positive for both of these agents as well through either direct detection in blood in blood smears or by molecular amplification (Anaplasmosis) or by detection of antibodies (Borrelia). If you encounter a tick on your pet, child or self, it can be submitted to us by your physician or veterinarian for identification and testing. Ticks can also be submitted directly by individuals using our “Non-Veterinary Tick Submission Form” Individuals can submit up to 5 ticks identified on/at a single source/location for identification for a single price of $100.00.  All ticks identified as Ixodes scapularis in Parasitology will be forwarded to the Molecular Diagnostic Section for testing. Ticks will be tested for both Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results will be available 5-7 business days following submission. We hope that this will simplify the process of submitting ticks to the AHDC for evaluation.

More information regarding ticks and tick-transmitted diseases can be found at:

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/life_cycle_and_hosts.html

 

Ticks Removed from People

Veterinary Submissions

Instructions for Submitting Ticks Removed from People

  • All ticks must be submitted in a leak-proof and escape-proof plastic screw cap vial or jar.
  • If the tick is alive, there are two options for packaging:
    • Option 1 is to place the vial holding the tick in a freezer overnight before packaging for shipment. Then the jar or vial must be placed in a leak-proof zipper-lock bag. No cold packs are required during shipment
    • Option 2 is to add 5ml (approximately one teaspoon) of alcohol to the jar or vial, covering the tick. Then the jar or vial must be placed in a leak-proof zipper-lock bag, also containing absorbent material sufficient to absorb at least 5 ml of liquid. If the shipment is made by ground delivery (USPS, FEDEX ground, or UPS ground) there are no special requirements for the vial or jar. If the shipment is to be made by air (USPS next day, FEDEX next day, UPS next day), the vials must be rated to withstand 95kPa internal pressure for air cargo.
  • Please fill out completely and print the Non-Veterinary Tick Submission Form and print a copy. Place the submission form in a separate zipper-lock bag
  • Submission must also be accompanied by payment of $100.00 for up to 5 ticks, via credit card. For credit card payment please print and fill out the Credit Card Authorization Form and enclose with submission form in zipper-lock bag for paperwork.
  • Place the bags containing the tick and the paperwork into an outer box and seal box with packing tape.
  • Print the label for UN3373 Biological Substance, Category B (do not reduce the size of the image for printing); cut out the label along the dotted line and affix to outer box with clear packing tape. Routine shippers can substitute commercially available peel-and-stick versions of this required label.
  • Ship, using the appropriate address below for US Postal Service or other courier (UPS or FEDEX):

US Postal Service
Animal Health Diagnostic Center
PO Box 5786
Ithaca, NY 14852-5786

UPS or FEDEX
Animal Health Diagnostic Center
240 Farrier Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853

 

Instructions for Veterinarians Submitting Ticks Removed from Animals

Veterinarians should submit ticks for testing using the standard AHDC general submission form. Payment arrangements are made for the veterinarian’s account. If this is a first time submission and an account has not previously been established, the laboratory medical records staff will contact the submitting veterinarian when the sample is received to establish account information for payment and by what method result reporting is preferred.

All submitted ticks will be identified. Additional PCR testing may be available on verified vector species, for pathogens such as Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia canis, or other pathogens of concern. Please call the lab to request any additional PCR testing following tick identification.

  • All ticks must be submitted in a leak-proof and escape-proof plastic screw cap vial or jar.
  • If the tick is alive, there are two options for packaging:
    • Option 1 is to place the vial holding the tick in a freezer overnight before packaging for shipment. Then the jar or vial must be placed in a leak-proof zipper-lock bag. No cold packs are required during shipment
    • Option 2 is to add 5ml (approximately one teaspoon) of alcohol to the jar or vial, covering the tick. Then the jar or vial must be placed in a leak-proof zipper-lock bag, also containing absorbent material sufficient to absorb at least 5 ml of liquid. If the shipment is made by ground delivery (USPS, FEDEX ground, or UPS ground) there are no special requirements for the vial or jar. If the shipment is to be made by air (USPS next day, FEDEX next day, UPS next day), the vials must be rated to withstand 95kPa internal pressure for air cargo.
  • Please fill out and print the standard AHDC general submission form and print a copy. Place the submission form in a separate zipper-lock bag.
  • Place the bags containing the tick and the paperwork into an outer box and seal box with packing tape.
  • Print the label for UN3373 Biological Substance, Category B (do not reduce the size of the image for printing); cut out label along the dotted line and affix to outer box with clear packing tape. Routine shippers can substitute commercially available peel-and-stick versions of this required label.
  • Ship, using the appropriate address below for US Postal Service or other courier (UPS or FEDEX):

US Postal Service
Animal Health Diagnostic Center
PO Box 5786
Ithaca, NY 14852-5786

UPS or FEDEX
Animal Health Diagnostic Center
240 Farrier Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853