December 15, 2017

CAPC Top 10 Cities List for Heartworm Disease

In an effort to monitor and report emerging threats to companion animal health, CAPC will now provide monthly updates on the cities experiencing significant increases in reports of selected parasitic disease.

During November 2017, these ten cities ranked the highest for an increase in the number of heartworm disease cases being detected:

  • Tacoma, WA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Overland Park, KS
  • Spokane, WA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Chula Vista, CA
  • Oceanside, CA
  • Akron, OH
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Louisville, KY

This CAPC Top Ten Cities list summarizes the cities across the United States that experienced the greatest percentage increase in positive heartworm disease tests during the month.  Mosquitoes transmit the parasite that causes heartworm disease, and areas with warmer climates and stable bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers or containers of water around homes, experience higher numbers of mosquitoes that can transmit the parasite. Pets in these cities may have been exposed locally or travel-related exposure may have been a contributor to these notable increases.   This is why CAPC recommends year round protection of pets against heartworm disease regardless of where pets reside.

As pointed out by CAPC board member Dr. Michael Yabsley, “What this ranking shows us is that heartworm disease is a national threat and pets are vulnerable to this disease in almost every community across the country.” The CAPC rankings demonstrate vector-borne disease is dynamic and ever-changing, and will enable veterinarians and pet owners to understand that vector-borne disease frequently expands beyond perceived boundaries of established endemic regions. 

Although these cities are broadly disseminated across the United States, there are many other areas that are experiencing an increase in parasitic disease prevalence, thus CAPC intends for monthly ranking reports to prompt conversations between veterinarians and pet owners about the importance of annual testing and year-round prevention.