Alexandria, Va., is the number one city for heartworms in June, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) reports.
The ranking was revealed in the group’s monthly Top 10 Cities Heartworm Report, which warns pet owners, veterinarians, and pet-related service providers of U.S. metropolitan areas with highest percentage increase in positive heartworm tests from the last 30 to 45 days.
Nationally, prevalence rates for heartworm have steadily risen in the last five years and are up 20 percent from 2013 levels, CAPC reports. These statistics emphasize the need for annual testing to ensure dogs and cats are protected no matter where they live or travel.
“It takes just one heartworm-infected dog in an area to become a reservoir of infection, increasing the number of infected mosquitoes and ultimately spreading the heartworm parasite to unprotected dogs and cats,” says CAPC board member, Michael Yabsley, MS, PhD, FRES, professor in the department of population health, College of Veterinary Medicine and Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia.
The following U.S. cities have the highest percentage increase in positive heartworm tests for June:
1) Alexandria, Va.
2) Corona, Calif.
3) Newport News, Va.
4) Hampton, Va.
5) Paterson, N.J.
6) San Bernardino, Calif.
7) Fargo, N.D.
8) Springfield, Mass.
9) Laredo, Tex.
10) Topeka, Kans.
“Many pet owners mistakenly think their dog or cat isn’t at risk for heartworm because they don’t live in what has been historically considered a heartworm ‘endemic’ region of the country,” says Cassan Pulaski, DVM, MPH, CAPC board member and Merck resident in veterinary parasitology, School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University (LSU). “This is no longer the case. While southern regions of the country have historically been associated with heartworm, we now know pets all over the country are potentially at risk for heartworm disease throughout the year.”