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Parasites! Viruses! - Traveling? Oh My!


Updated Oct 20, 2017.

Thinking of visiting another state with Fido or Felicia? Here’s a nifty resource for determining which vaccinations you may want done for your pet. To be perfectly clear, we’re talking about vaccines in addition to the required core vaccines every pet should have.

Pets & Parasites is a non-profit website devoted to collecting national data on tests performed for common parasites/diseases in cats and dogs. The idea is to let you see the prevalence of different parasites where you live or in areas included in your travel plans. Data is available down to the county level within each state.

The initial Parasite Prevalence Maps page opens with a state map of the Unites States including Alaska and Hawaii. The map bar across the top of the map has 5 drop down tabs. These are for parasite category, sub-category, dog/cat category, year to display and month within year. It can be a confusing at first because each tab displays it’s currently selected option.

The default year (current year) and default month (all year) should be left alone. After all, for traveling, you want the latest available data for the current year.

The parasite/virus categories are:

  • Tick Borne Disease Agents

  • Intestinal Parasites

  • Heartworm

  • Viral Diseases

Pick a parasite category and sub-category. By default, whichever of cats or dogs is more common for that sub-category will appear in the dog/cat category. Override if needed.

Click on whatever state you’re interested in and the parasite prevalence map for that state will appear with counties shown. Clicking on a county will cause that county to blink and change the figures to the right of the map to be specific for that county.

At the county level, not all counties will show data. This usually means no one has requested those sub-category tests in that county. Look at nearby counties.

What data is displayed:

There are two sets of figures shown. The first figure is the percentage of positive tests of all the tests performed for that particular parasite. The second numbers are the raw counts of positive cases versus total cases tested for that parasite.

For example: it becomes instantly clear that Rhode Island is a must vaccinate state for Lyme disease but Florida really is optional. If you’re traveling to the Northeast, you should seriously consider asking for Lyme disease vaccination for your pet.

Note that only the usual canine/feline parasite/disease tests are represented here. Tests for diseases like Valley Fever (currently reaching epidemic levels in Arizona) are not on these maps.

Remember: Vaccinations work. Let your vet know when you plan out of state travel. Keep your pet safe both at home and when you travel.

Resources:

Pets & Parasites – home page: www.petsandparasites.org

Parasite Prevalence Maps – main map page – opens to national map for dogs: Lyme disease

Parasite Prevalence Map – Sarasota, FL – opens to Florida map with Sarasota highlighted

Valley Fever in Dogs – article reviewing Valley Fever in Arizona


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