Experts Say 2016 Will Be the Year of Ticks and Mosquitoes
According to the annual Parasite Forecasts, 2016 will bring plenty of mosquitoes and ticks, which increases the chance that your pet may catch a parasite-transmitted disease.
Every year, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), a panel of respected parasitologists, sits down and uses their years of clinical and ongoing research to create a Parasite Forecast for the upcoming year.
This Parasite Forecast is based on a number of factors including precipitation, population density, and temperature. The forecast measures multiple data points to calculate the probability of a dog testing positive for the agents of four major parasite-transmitted diseases: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and heartworm.
Related: Pet-Safe Mosquito Repellent for Dogs
According to CAPC President Susan Little, the areas where these parasites are found is continuing to expand and so this forecast is a reminder to pet owners to take their pets to the vet to get them tested and protected.
Lyme disease is once again a high threat for pets this year. Ticks that carry the agent of Lyme disease have expanded their range and have become established in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Kentucky. Ironically, the “bulls-eye of Lyme disease,” which has traditionally been in New England, will see below normal activity, however infection in this region still poses a major risk.
Unfortunately, ehrlichiosis is common to Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma… and these regions are expected to have even higher than normal activity this year. Southern California and the southeast (especially east of the Mississippi River) is also at increased risk for ehrlichiosis.
New York state, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and northern California will have an active year when it comes to transmission of the agents of anaplasmosis.
Lastly, heartworm is a potentially fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes and this year, the risk is expected to be above average throughout the entire country.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council offers a few tips to keep your pets happy and healthy this year. Remember that ticks and vector-borne disease agents can also be found in jogging trails, paths and dog parks so be sure to get your pets vaccinates to prevent these diseases (after all, heart heartworm can be fatal if left untreated but it’s almost 100 percent preventable!)
Related: 5 Heartwork Facts You Need To Know
There are also misconceptions that cats are not at-risk of ticks because they remove them via grooming or are always indoors, which is simply untrue.There are many parasite-transmitted diseases that are harmful and sometimes even deadly to felines and can even threaten cats that spend the majority of their time indoors.
Bottom line: get your dog vaccinated to protect them from any parasite-transmitted diseases and get them regularly tested.