CAPC unleashes national data on parasitic infection rates for veterinarians

CAPC unleashes national data on parasitic infection rates for veterinarians

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Jun 23, 2011
By dvm360.com staff
Bel Air, Md. – The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) unveiled new veterinary data that shows nearly 6 percent of 780,000 fecal samples from pet cats were carrying eggs from feline roundworm, Toxocara cati.

In fact, new 2010 data collected in collaboration with IDEXX, ANTECH Diagnostics and Banfield Pet Hospitals show the distribution and prevalence of common parasitic diseases for dogs and cats like heartworm, Lyme disease, E. canis, roundworm, hookworm and whipworm.

The comprehensive results of this national sampling can be found on interactive maps on CAPC's website, capcvet.org. The data tables allow veterinarians to search for canine or feline infection results by state, county and type of parasite. The interactive maps were commissioned by CAPC's Board of Directors and developed by Chuck Blier under the direction of Mike Paul, DVM, past executive director of CAPC.

For the 4 million cared-for canine fecal samples that were examined, the national average was 2.9 percent containing eggs of Toxocara canis. There were only four states – Alaska, Arizona, California and Nevada – where a higher percentage of dogs were infected with roundworms than cats.

Of the 63,123 heartworm-positive dogs tested in the United States, the national infection rate was tallied at 1.2 percent. The data were gleaned from more than 5 million canine samples. On the other hand, cats had an infection rate of 2.7 percent based on 250,000 feline samples.

"In general, three out of every 100 cats tested were positive for heartworm antigen, a good indicator that these positive cats have living heartworms in their lungs," CAPC reports. "Feline antigen data should be considered with caution because cats are more likely to be tested only when ill, but surveys utilizing other detection methods have revealed similar prevalences."

CAPC reports there was a higher percentage of cats positive for heartworms than dogs in every state except for Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

"The numbers from these maps suggest that heartworm preventives with broad-spectrum internal parasite control are reducing the worm populations in dogs, but that cats are not receiving the same protection. These data strongly support the CAPC recommendation that all pets, both cats and dogs, be protected annually throughout the United States against heartworm, intestinal parasites and ectoparasites," CAPC adds.