Besides heat waves and thunderstorms, other serious conditions will threaten the United States this year as temperatures rise, the Companion Animal Parasite Council warned today.
The nonprofit Salem, Ore.-based group is forecasting the spread of tick-borne Lyme disease beyond its traditional borders and a heightened risk of heartworm disease across much of the nation.
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.
• 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.
To keep pets safe, CAPC recommends:
• Using medications that offer year-round protection against ticks, heartworm and other parasites.
• Scheduling regular veterinary checkups.
• Monitoring local tick and heartworm diseases by signing up for forecast updates at www.petsandparasites.com.