Cat Heartworm Infections to Rise

Elevated heartworm prevalence expected this spring, pet parasite group determines.

The United States will experience high populations of dog and cat heartworm due to anticipated above-normal temperatures and precipitation levels, according to the Spring 2012 Companion Animal Parasite Council Parasite Forecast, released last week by the CAPC.

The forecast for dog and cat heatworm is based on National Weather Service data, weather trends, dog and cat parasite prevalence statistics from veterinary clinics and animal shelters, and the collective expert opinion of parasitologists.

Through April 2012, the forecast calls for the following levels of dog and cat heartworm populations in five U.S. regions: “extremely high” in the South; “high” in the Northeast and Midwest; “moderate to higher-than-normal” in the Northwest; and “persistent spikes” in parts of the West.

“We want everyone to be especially vigilant in protecting themselves and their [dogs and cats] from the risks that parasites pose in every state in the country,” said CAPC board member and former president Byron Blagburn, M.S., Ph.D., a distinguished professor at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s important to remember that almost all parasites are completely preventable.”

The CAPC will issue another parasite forecast this fall that covers heartworm and ticks.

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