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Source: Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) press release

Bel Air Maryland -- The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), a nonprofit organization of leading veterinary parasitologists, predicts the threat of Lyme disease for dogs will be extremely high this year. The forecast, the only one of its kind for parasites, was developed in partnership with Clemson University statisticians also responsible for developing the model for severe weather forecasting.

Ticks are carriers of many diseases, including Lyme disease. Symptoms in dogs often include lameness due to inflammation of the joints, lack of appetite and depression. More serious complications include damage to the kidney, and rarely heart or nervous system disease. While the disease cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans, frequency of dog infections is often an indicator of the potential for human exposure.

"In addition to the Lyme disease forecast, our CAPC website (www.petsandparasites.com) offers predictions of other disease threats for pets such as heartworm, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis," explains Dr. Chris Carpenter , CAPC executive director. "While virtually all infestations of parasites are preventable, estimates indicate that fewer than half the dogs in the country are protected. Prevention is easy and relatively affordable when compared to the cost and heartache of treating a sick pet."

CAPC based its parasite forecast on factors including temperature, dew point, humidity, precipitation, elevation, forest cover, population density, reported human Lyme disease cases and deer strikes by car. The forecast is also the collective expert opinion of respected parasitologists, who engage in ongoing research and data interpretation to better understand and monitor disease transmission and changing life cycles.

Prevention is the best medicine

To prevent any type of infection or infestation, CAPC recommends year-round parasite-control medication for dogs and cats, which often requires a monthly application. In addition, CAPC's guidelines recommend regular examinations - at least annually - by a veterinarian.

To fully understand the threat of disease to dogs and cats in their immediate area, pet owners may sign up for regular email updates by visiting www.petsandparasites.org. The parasite prevalence maps share specific numbers of diagnosed cases by county. In addition, pet owners will be alerted when new forecast information is available. The localized forecasting is especially valuable for pet owners who travel with their animals, allowing owners to protect their pet from potential infestations in new areas.

For more information about CAPC, the number of dogs and cats affected by ticks, heartworm and other parasites where you live, as well as disease prevention tips, please visit www.petsandparasites.org.

About CAPC

Founded in 2002, the nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council is an independent council of veterinarians, veterinary parasitologists and other animal health care professionals established to foster animal and human health, while preserving the human-animal bond, through recommendations for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of parasitic infections. CAPC brings together broad expertise in parasitology, internal medicine, public health, veterinary law, private practice and association leadership.