CLEVELAND — Cleveland has the fourth-highest increase of heartworm-positive pets in the United States throughout the month of September, according to a study conducted by the Companion Animal Parisite Council (CAPC).
Heartworm disease is caused by is a blood parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. If a dog or cat is not on a heartworm preventative medication and is bitten by a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae, it has a high likelihood of developing heartworm disease.
Cleveland was ranked based on the number of positive heartworm test results it had over the last 30 to 45 days. The more infected pets in an area, the most likely the disease is to spread, as more mosquitoes become carriers of the larvae.
CAPC said the increase in positive tests could be attributed to a number of factors. The most likely, outside of failure to medicate pets monthly, are exposure from travel, changing weather patterns, and transportation of shelter pets.
The increase in positive heartworm tests could be attributed to the influx of shelter pets transported into the area after being rescued from Hurricane Florence, according to CAPC.
CAPC recommends pet owners test companions once a year and make sure they are medicated with a heartworm preventative once a month.
Here’s the Top 10 list for heartworm positive test increase across the country:
- Orange, California
- St. Paul, Minnesota
- Fontana, California
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Omaha, Nebraska
- Syracuse, New York
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Tacoma, Washington
- San Jose, California
- Cary, North Carolina
Akron was ranked No. 5 in the country after the same study was conducted in July. The increase in positive tests was attributed to the heavy rain and flooding, which created an influx of mosquitoes in the area.