Detection of fecal chemistry changes in cattle infested with the Southern Cattle Tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. Conference Paper uri icon


  • Abstract Bovine babesiosis, a highly fatal tick-borne disease of cattle, was eliminated from the United States in the last century through tick eradication programs against 2 species of cattle fever ticks. The threat to the U.S. cattle industry continues through tick introductions from Mexico. The standard method of detecting Cattle Fever Ticks [Rhipicephalus (B.) annulatus and R. (B.) microplus] in the state-federal tick eradication program is physical examination of restrained cattle to find attached ticks. New methods of detecting tick-infested cattle could improve reliability and reduce animal stress. The objective of this study was to determine whether changes in fecal chemistry induced by tick infestation was detectable using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS). Fecal samples were collected daily from 6 stanchioned Bos taurus yearling heifers (initial mean weight 163.3 kg +/- 4.7 kg) at the USDA Cattle Fever Tick Research Laboratory, Edinburg, TX, before, during, and after an infestation of 5000 R. (B.) microplus larvae. Cluster analyses were conducted using GRAMS IQ for NIR spectra in the 5761126 nm range to test for fecal chemistry changes different from pre-infestation condition, and coincident with the biological phases of the tick infestation. The first three factors of spectral variation accounted for 87.87% of spectral variation among all samples. Factors 1, 2, and 3 had F-Ratios for the Reduced Eigenvalues of 941.59, 387.44, and 221.79, respectively. Three-dimensional analysis for these 3 factors shows shifts in sample clusters away from pre-infestation and coincident with progressive tick blood-feeding and post-infestation recovery. We conclude that fecal NIRS may provide a tool for detection of tick-infested cattle; however, further testing is needed to determine the sensitivity of detection on cattle with varying levels of tick burden, and a protocol developed and evaluated for fecal sampling under field conditions

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Rich, B. T., Teel, P. D., Thomas, D. B., Angerer, J., Tolleson, D. R., & de Leon, A.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Rich, Brian T||Teel, Pete D||Thomas, Donald B||Angerer, Jay||Tolleson, Douglas R||de Leon, Adalberto A Perez

publication date

  • January 2019