Salt Lake City, Utah, tops the list of heartworm cities for February in the U.S.

Alexandria, Va., Riverside, Calif., and Topeka, Kans. round out the top four

Salt Lake City, Utah, was the number one city for heartworms in February according to Companion Animal Parasite Council’s (CAPC’s) top 10 list.

The monthly report warns pet owners, veterinarians, and pet-related service providers of U.S. metropolitan areas with highest percentage increase in positive heartworm tests. CAPC is devoted to monitoring and reporting emerging threats to pets.

“The new CAPC Top 10 Cities Heartworm Report demonstrates heartworm disease—transmitted by mosquitoes—is a national threat to pets who are increasingly vulnerable to this debilitating and potentially fatal illness in most communities across the country,” says CAPC board member, Michael Yabsley, MS, PhD, FRES.

These are the U.S. cities with the highest percentage increase in positive heartworm tests for February:

1) Salt Lake City, Utah
2) Alexandria, Va.
3) Riverside, Calif.
4) Topeka, Kans.
5) El Paso, Tex.
6) Paterson, N.J.
7) Chesapeake, Va.
8) Reno, Nev.
9) Modesto, Calif.
10) Boise, Idaho

“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,” Yabsley says. “This is why CAPC recommends monthly heartworm protection and annual testing for both heartworm antigens and microfilariae, regardless of where pets live or travel.”

According to CAPC, prevalence rates for heartworm have risen each of the last five years and are now up 20 percent from 2013 levels.

“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. This is no longer the case,” says CAPC board member, Cassan Pulaski, DVM, MPH. “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.”

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