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Millions of pets are infected each year by parasites like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Even worse, some of these parasites carry diseases that can be transmitted to you. Now is the time to protect your pets and family. Much like the National Weather Service can forecast turbulent weather, the Companion Animal Parasite Council projects how bad the parasite season will be. Two of the nation’s top veterinarians explain what diseases pets are most susceptible this year and what you can do to keep your pet healthy.
"The Companion Animal Parasite Counsel for 2018 predicts a big year for two diseases: Heartworm and Lyme disease. When you look at the forecast maps, the country is on fire. We are seeing an incredible increase in Heartworm across the country not only in the usual endemic areas in the southeast but also across the north and even into the southwest.
Where Lyme disease is concerned, we're seeing a great deal of spread of the disease and there have been some victories in some parts of the country. Philadelphia is actually doing a bit better as far as Lyme disease goes. But what we're seeing this year is a spread of Lyme disease carrying ticks across the country. For example, I'm based in Dallas, Texas, and even in areas like that where we don't typically think of Lyme disease as an issue, we are seeing pockets of the disease occurring there."
So as pet owners, what can we do to protect our pets?
"The best thing you can do is see your pet's doctor at least annually. It's so important that these pets go to see the family doctor and that annual blood testing is done. A simple blood test can determine whether Heartworm disease or Lyme disease is present in your pets. The good news is these diseases are highly preventable with simple to use medications. Your pet's doctor will be the local expert, using the Companion Animal Parasite Maps to know what risk factors exist in your area."
So given that information, is year round parasite protection really important?
"It is. It's very important and actually the cost of doing year round parasite protection is far less than actually having the expense of treating these very dangerous and potentially fatal diseases."
Check out petsandparasites.org for information about the prevalence and the forecasting of these diseases in your area. The website will also give you information right down to your county level, with local information about what the greatest risks are for your pets and for your family.