What's Your Pet's Risk Of Exposure To Vector-Borne Pathogens? Predictions For 2020
Heartworm disease, transmitted through mosquito bites, and Lyme disease, transmitted through deer tick bites, are on the rise in many regions of the United States.
While you may have been able to forgo heartworm preventatives and flea and tick protection for part of the year, or have never used those products at all, the predicted increase in cases show that your pets may be more at risk than ever.
Use the maps in the link below, created from data collected by the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) to assess your pet's risk of contracting Lyme disease and heartworm disease. Start a discussion with your veterinarian to find the products and treatment schedule that works best for your pet.
Forecasts For 2020
Heartworm cases exist in all 50 states, so no matter where you live in the US, you need to protect your pets with a heartworm preventative.
In some regions, heartworm has become more prevalent. Based on average prevalence rates in the past eight years, the CAPC predicts that we will see even more heartworm cases in 2020.
Notably, they expect increased prevalence along the Mississippi river, throughout the southern portions of the Midwest, and along the Atlantic coast north into Virginia.
These areas have already seen a high prevalence of heartworm, and with the cases increasing each year, it's recommended that pet parents take extra caution if they live in these areas.
What's even more concerning is that areas that are not known for having many cases of heartworm, including Indiana, northern Illinois, southern Iowa, and southern Wisconsin, are also seeing an increase in cases.
In many heartworm hotspots, the number of cases are predicted to be similar to that of recent years, with a very small decrease in some areas (no more than 0.5%).
Lyme disease, too, happens in all 50 states, though the majority of cases occur in northeastern and midwestern states.
In 2020, the CAPC predicts increases in cases throughout the Northeast and Appalachian region. States along the east coast, including New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, expect to see a slightly lower number of cases, but these states are still considered very high risk.
Why Are Parasites Becoming More Prevalent?
There is no clear, singular cause as to why we are seeing more cases of heartworm disease and Lyme disease in pets every year.
Climate change plays a big role. With milder winters and longer summers, mosquitoes and ticks are coming out sooner, and they have more time to reproduce, resulting in higher populations, and of course, more bites.
Changes in the way we use land, increases in our own populations, and new land developments in previously forested areas may also contribute to more cases.
Though those factors are out of our control, we can keep our pets and our families safe by using flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives year-round. That way, these parasites cannot creep up on us on an unexpectedly warm day.
How To Keep Your Pets Protected
The easiest ways to prevent your pet from becoming a statistic is to keep mosquitoes and ticks from biting.
Treat your property and your home for pests, use preventatives, and check your pets for ticks before they come inside from a walk or hike.
Call your veterinarian for advice on which products to use to keep your pet safe, when to use them. Let your vet know if you suspect your pet may have had exposure to Lyme disease or heartworm disease.
For more information on what to expect in 2020, click here
Source: CAPC 2020 - https://capcvet.org/