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.
Tick season is traditionally in spring and summer, while often associated with heavily wooded areas, ticks can be found in any outdoor areas that have brush or grass including your local park. Be sure to examine your dog for ticks after any outing. More about ticks>>
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, an infectious disease transmitted by ticks.
- 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.
Often overlooked because they are not visible like fleas, heartworms present a hidden danger. Most dog owners do not realize their dog should be on a monthly heartworm preventative. Early stages can have no visible symptoms. Learn more about heartworms>>
To keep pets safe from fleas, ticks and heartworms, 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 petsandparasites.com.