Tick Diagnostic & Lab Services
Tick Submission Information
In some tick endemic areas of the country, as many as 40-70% of deer ticks are infected with the Borrelia burgdorrifi spirochete, the Lyme disease bacteria. You won’t be able to tell if a tick is infected by simple looking at it, whatever the size. If you remove a deer tick from yourself, family member, or pet, here are the steps to take to preserve and submit the tick for simple identification by your physician or vet, or for a complete pathogen analysis from an independent testing laboratory.
- If you've removed an engorged tick, symptoms may begin even before the results of the tick analysis are available. Don't wait for tick testing results to seek medical advice if symptoms develop.
- Even if a submitted tick does test positive for a pathogen, there is no guarantee that the pathogen was passed on to the patient. The longer a tick is attached, however, the greater the chance of pathogen transmission.
- Overall testing is not perfect. Continue to monitor for symptoms after the removal of any tick. Keep in mind that if you've removed one tick, you've obviously been in tick friendly habitat. There may have been other ticks attached to you, a family member, or pet that you did not find.
After proper removal:
- Place the tick to be identified in a zip-lock bag or small vial.
- Place a small piece of wet cotton or paper towel along with the tick, as this will keep the tick from desiccating (drying out).
When submitting your tick sample and paperwork:
- Make certain to place the contents in a padded mailer and send overnight or priority carrier.
- Visit your post office to obtain small padded mailers.
Tick Testing Programs
Below is a partial list of additional state agencies and diagnostic testing labs. In most instances, each site will have its own submission form. Recognize that some will simply identify the submitted tick at no cost while others, for a fee, will analyze the submitted tick for various tick-borne pathogens. If you live in a state that is not listed below, consider contacting your state’s health agency to see if they support simple identification and/or further analysis. We will continue to update the following list as more sites are brought to our attention.
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Tick office information.
Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Submission form for tick testing.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service. Tick identification only.
Independent Testing Laboratories
Igenex, Inc. Palo Alto, California
Imugen, Inc. Norwood, Massachusetts.
TickChek LLC. East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Mainely Ticks has no association with any of the above state agencies or independent testing laboratories. We are simply providing initial contact information. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of a state agency or independent testing laboratory that should be added to this list.