AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) — According to a new report from the nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council, Amarillo ranks number three in the nation for the highest percentage increase in positive heartworm test results for dogs and cats.
Crystal Windsor, a veterinarian at the High Plains Veterinary Clinic in Amarillo, said her clinic has noticed an increase in animals testing positive for heartworm.
Windsor added that there are other vet clinics in Amarillo seeing an uptick in heartworm reports too.
"Even our sales reps that come around to sell the kits and that sort of thing knew that we were seeing a drastic rise," Windsor said. "They started checking with some of the other clinics to see how much they were testing that thought they didn't have a problem with heartworms. Upon doing more testing, they're finding more positive tests."
Windsor said in the past 15 to 18 months, the High Plains Veterinary Clinic has seen 51 positive cases for heartworm.
Mosquitoes are one contributing factor to the rapidly spreading parasite.
"We do see more mosquitoes in the summer time, but anytime it's over 50 degrees, mosquitoes can hatch out," Windsor said. "Even here in Amarillo, most of our winter days do get above 50."
One way to protect your pet from the heartworm parasite is by getting them tested. Windsor said the assessment is quick and easy, but pet owners should also make sure they administer follow-up preventative medicine.
"There are chewable treats that the pets take once a month at home that not only prevents heartworms but also deworms for many of the common intestinal parasites as well," said Windsor.