Pet Disease Alerts represents the latest development in the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s effort to inform pet owners. This website was designed to directly communicate crucial, time-sensitive information about disease threats, encouraging pet owners to be proactive by visiting their veterinarian and getting their pets tested and protected.
Dogs and cats are increasingly at risk for diseases caused by mosquitoes, ticks and viral and bacterial infections. For almost a decade, CAPC has been mapping, tracking and forecasting diseases to make pet owners aware of the risks where they live—and where they plan to travel with their pets. Nationally, prevalence rates have risen each of the past 5 years and are now up 20% from 2013 levels.
CAPC is the global expert in forecasting vector-borne diseases of companion animals in the United States. For Pet Disease Alerts, CAPC has partnered with a team of statisticians at Clemson University to develop a statistical methodology, software programming and user interface to forecast four parasitic diseases—heartworm disease, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis—for every county in the United States on a monthly basis.
These diseases are of great concern to pet owners and veterinarians across the country because of how quickly they can spread, moving into areas that previously may not have been affected and putting pets in these areas at high risk for infection. The CAPC Regional Monthly Forecasts are designed to alert pet owners and veterinarians to ever-changing, concerning trends in parasite infections in local communities and across the country before they occur.
The CAPC Regional Monthly Forecasts provide an accurate short-term picture of what’s going on across the United States, down to the county level, for each of the four diseases. The Forecasts are generated by a dynamic, data-driven model that analyzes recent trends in disease prevalence rates within every county. Data are collected monthly, so that each Forecast is based on all available data, up to and including the previous month.
The CAPC Regional Monthly Forecasts would not have been possible without the contributions of one of the leading statistical teams in the country. The Clemson statistical team includes Dr. Chris McMahan, Dr. Yan Liu, Dr. Robert Lund, Dr. Jenna Gettings and Stella Watson. This team is recognized for their work, not only on the statistical techniques used for this site that can help model and forecast future trends in vector-borne canine diseases, but also on group, or pooled, testing, which has helped reduce screening costs for a variety of infectious diseases. The use of pooled testing has also found broader applications in many other areas, including animal ecology, drug discovery, entomology, genetics, food safety, and bioterrorism detection. The use of pooling, for the purposes of detecting infectious diseases, has been adopted by many organizations, including the American Red Cross and other blood banking centers throughout the world.
We plan to expand our capabilities in the near future to include Pet Disease Alert Maps. These maps will show near real-time prevalence of certain bacterial and viral diseases, starting with leptospirosis and canine influenza. The Maps will also generate alerts when areas are detected as having a high likelihood of an outbreak.
Leptospirosis and canine influenza are easily transmitted from pet to pet, can spread quite rapidly through an area and can be life-threatening in certain pets. In addition, leptospirosis is zoonotic, meaning it can pass from pets to people. This is why it’s essential for pet owners to have timely and accurate information about disease prevalence where they live or plan to visit.
Your support means everything. With donations from pet owners like you, we can continue providing this valuable service and help better protect pets from parasitic and other diseases. Please donate now.