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Elevated Heartworm Prevalence Expected this Spring

Posted: April 5, 2012, 2:45 p.m. EDT

Heartworm is a mosquito-borne disease

The United States will experience high populations of heartworm due to anticipated above-normal temperatures and precipitation levels, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council's spring 2012 parasite forecast released today.

The forecast is based on National Weather Service data, weather trends, parasite prevalence statistics from veterinary clinics and animal shelters, and the collective expert opinion of parasitologists.

Through April 2012, the forecast calls for the following levels of heartworm populations in five U.S. regions: “extremely high” in the South; “high” in the Northeast and Midwest; “moderate to higher-than-normal” in the Northwest; and “persistent spikes” in parts of the West.

“We want everyone to be especially vigilant in protecting themselves and their pets from the risks that parasites pose in every state in the country,” said CAPC board member and former president Byron Blagburn, M.S., Ph.D., a distinguished professor at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s important to remember that almost all parasites are completely preventable.”

The Companion Animal Parasite Council will issue another parasite forecast this fall that covers heartworm and ticks.

In related news, the American Heartworm Society recently updated its canine and feline heartworm guidelines and unveiled an initiative to help practices implement the guidelines’ recommendations.

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