Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease in Animals

The deer tick, also known as the blacklegged tick, is considered to be the primary carrier of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. Deer ticks pass this illness to humans and other animals.

As their name implies, adult deer ticks prefer to feed on deer. However, they are capable of feeding on livestock, including cattle and horses. Nymphal and larval deer ticks choose small animals, such as white-footed mice, as hosts. Because they dwell near the skin of the host, they are often masked by the affected animal’s hair and are not easily detectable. Lyme disease can be transmitted during a bite, but symptoms may not appear until later.