Companion Animal Parasite Council Annual Forecast Predicts 2017 Hotbed For Heartworm

CAPC’s annual forecasts provide important information to help veterinarians and pet owners understand parasites are a true risk to both pets and people.

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), the leading source on parasitic diseases that threaten the health of pets and people, has released its annual parasite forecasts. The big story this year is the impact the milder temperatures and increased precipitation has had on mosquitoes. Shifting weather patterns have created ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes across the country. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease which can be deadly to pets.

Heartworm isn’t the only parasite pet owners will need to be watchful for. CAPC also predicts the spread of Lyme disease into non-endemic areas including the Dakotas, Iowa, Missouri, Southern Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina.

“Our annual forecasts provide important information to help veterinarians and pet owners understand parasites are a true risk to both pets and people,” said Dr. Dwight Bowman, CAPC Board Member and Professor of Parasitology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “This year, there are significant shifts in prevalence, making our maps a critical educational tool for veterinary hospitals, and allow veterinarians and pet owners to see that parasites are ever changing and widespread, sometimes surprisingly so.”

The forecasts support CAPC’s recommendation for annual testing and having pets on preventativie year round. For 2017, CAPC predicts the following risk areas for parasite-related diseases:

  • Infection with heartworm, which causes a potentially fatal disease and is transmitted by mosquitoes, is expected to be above average nationwide. The only area of the country expected to see below normal heartworm activity is in Western Texas from Amarillo to Laredo. The forecast also predicts the hyper-endemic prevalence seen in the lower Mississippi River region will be even more active than normal. Veterinarians in the Rockies and westward, where heartworm is traditionally not seen, may see a problematic rise in heartworm infections among their patients.
  • Lyme disease is a high threat again this year. Ticks that transmit the agent of Lyme disease have expanded their range from New York to Western Wisconsin. Western Pennsylvania, especially in Pittsburgh is forecasted to be even more problematic this year. There is good news for the Atlantic Seaboard (I-95 Corridor) from Washington, DC to Boston, where this area is forecasted to get some relief this year, but only slightly.
  • Transmission of the agents of anaplasmosis continues to be a problem in Northern California and Southern Oregon. The state of New York and Western Pennsylvania are also forecasted…

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