Lyme disease is expected to pose higher-than-average risk this year for Canadian pets, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) reports.
The group has released its 2023 Pet Parasite Forecast and corresponding 30-day Pet Parasite Forecast maps, alerting veterinarians and pet owners of impending outbreaks.
CAPC predicts instances of Lyme, transmitted by the black-legged (deer) tick vector (Ixodes scapularis), will be higher than average in the United States throughout 2023, with continued expansion southward and westward outside of the historically high-risk areas in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. A higher-than-normal risk is also expected in North Dakota, northeastern South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and eastern Kentucky.
In addition to its maps of the U.S., CAPC has, for the first time, forecast Lyme disease for Canada.
Specifically, the group says it has been tracking the prevalence of Borrelia in dogs in Canada since 2012, and has noted a northward expansion, with an expected increased risk of Lyme detection in dogs in southern regions of Ontario, Québec, Manitoba, and in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Pets living in or travelling to these areas are considered to be at high risk.
“Lyme disease, in particular, is an important One Health pathogen that occurs in both veterinary and human medical settings,” says CAPC’s CEO, Christopher Carpenter, DVM. “CAPC’s Pet Parasite Forecast is critical to alerting pet owners, veterinarians, and physicians to the risks this year and reinforcing CAPC’s recommendation that all pets need to be annually tested and protected year-round.”
The increase in Lyme prevalence can be attributed to land use, human population growth, urbanization, and changes in wildlife host density and location, the council reports. Risk has also increased due to rehoming of pets, as well as changes in:
- Distribution and prevalence of vector (tick) populations
- Shifting wildlife populations and their infiltration into newly developed and reclaimed areas
- Short- and long-term changes in climatic conditions
- Changes in habitat due to natural or human-induced processes
In addition to Lyme, CAPC’s 2023 Pet Parasite Forecast shows a continued geographic prevalence of heartworm, transmitted by mosquitos, along the Mississippi River, throughout the southern portions of the interior Midwest, and along the Atlantic coast north into Virginia and southern New Jersey.
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