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BEL AIR, Md. — The risk of Lyme disease in dogs will be "extremely high" this year, an expert group has warned.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council, a group of veterinary parasitologists, made its prediction of the severity of the tick-borne illness based on a statistical analysis made in partnership with experts from Clemson University who also develop models for forecasting severe weather. The forecast included factors such as temperature, dew point, humidity, precipitation, elevation, forest cover, population density, reported human Lyme disease cases and car-related deer strikes.
"In addition to the Lyme disease forecast, our CAPC website offers predictions of other disease threats for pets such as heartworm, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis," CAPC executive director Chris Carpenter said. "While virtually all infestations of parasites are preventable, estimates indicate that fewer than half the dogs in this country are protected. Prevention is easy and relatively affordable compared to the cost and heartache of treating a sick pet."
The group recommends year-round parasite control medication for dogs and cats, which often requires a monthly application, as well as veterinary exams.