Are you thinking of traveling this summer, and this year, with your pet? If so, be aware that recent weather conditions are affecting the incidence and patterns of heartworm and lyme disease. Not just heat waves and thunderstorms, but other serious conditions will threaten the United States this year as temperatures rise, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) warned, in March.
The group is forecasting the spread of tick-borne Lyme disease beyond its traditional borders. Heartworm disease is predicted to also rise, as the conditions are favorable for the vectors of these diseases to thrive. Other tick-transmitted diseases will likely also be on the rise, and on the geographical spread. The council used computer models similar to those employed to predict hurricanes to issue several advisories to veterinarians and pet owners.
-Lyme disease, historically a Northeastern threat, is spreading into the Midwest and southward through the mid-Atlantic states.
-New England and the Pacific Northwest will play host to Lyme disease hot spots.
-The region from Virginia to Texas, and even into California, will be at high risk of ehrlichiosis (another tick born disease).
– The risk of heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, may be particularly bad in Texas, the Southeast and along the Pacific coast from Northern California to Washington state.
The CAPC updates current parasitic threat levels at PetsAndParasites.com. Keep these trends in mind, and continue your flea and tick prevention up to date all year. Monitor your pet intermittently for fleas and ticks to make sure your choice of prevention is effective. If not, consult with your veterinarian to discuss other options.