Year in Review: Animal Health

Companion Trends

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Heartworm, Lyme disease on the move
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) annual 2018 parasite forecast predicted an increase in prevalence of two of the most problematic diseases for pets: heartworm and Lyme disease. Heartworm was predicted to continue to aggressively spread across the United States in 2018, with the growth of Lyme disease focused east of the Rockies.

According to CAPC, the expansive nature of heartworm is partially attributed to the hot and wet weather over a two-year span. Shifting weather patterns have created ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes across the country. Mosquitoes transmit the parasite that causes heartworm disease which can be deadly to pets. Another contributing factor is the relocation of many unknown heartworm positive dogs across the country, who survived these dangerous storms.

Illnesses from vector-borne disease triple
Illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the U.S., with more than 640,000 cases reported during the 13 years from 2004 through 2016, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States during this time.

“Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya – a growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea – have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick. And we don’t know what will threaten Americans next,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Our nation’s first lines of defense are state and local health departments and vector control organizations, and we must continue to enhance our investment in their ability to fight against these diseases.”