The D.C. area came second among 200 metropolitan cities of the United States for commonness of pets’ heartworm disease on a list released by the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC).
Moreno Valley, California, topped the list, while Newark, New Jersey; Indianapolis, Indiana and Cheyenne, Wyoming, followed D.C. respectively in the top five.
Over the past five years, the cases of heartworm disease have risen by 20 percent, according to former CAPC head Craig Prior, who is an experienced veterinarian.
Speaking to WTOP, Prior explained that such a hike in D.C. and other cities means that “there’s something going on here that you need to be aware of and that you need to talk to your veterinarian because your dog has got the potential to be exposed.”
Among the reasons of the current rise is the transportation of rescue dogs from southern states, which brought the disease into areas that did not previously rank high on the list.
Heartworm disease remains a growing risk, worsened by warm weather and pet travel, according to Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) predictions. And Lyme disease is spreading as the ticks that carry the causative organism expand their range. https://t.co/kehFLrjX2E pic.twitter.com/c4yoVhY4Gq
— AVMA Journals (@AVMAJournals) June 16, 2019
CAPC is an independent, non-profit organization that has been working to raise awareness about the risks parasites pose to the health of pets and humans since 2002.
“By generating and disseminating credible, accurate and timely information for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of parasitic infections, CAPC works to educate pet owners and veterinary professionals,” says its website.
CAPC has a vision of having “Every Pet Tested and Protected.” Towards that goal, the organization started a number of informative programs such as “parasite forecasts”, “parasite prevalence maps” and “parasite guidelines.”
With these programs, the group is aiming to inform both veterinary professionals and pet owners on the dangers posed by parasites.