Canine vector-borne disease: mapping and the accuracy of forecasting using big data from the veterinary community

by CAPC Vet
Download Publication


Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of vector-borne disease (VBD) in pets is one cornerstone of companion animal practices. Veterinarians are facing new challenges associated with the emergence, reemergence, and rising incidence of VBD, including heartworm disease, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. Increases in the observed prevalence of these diseases have been attributed to a multitude of factors, including diagnostic tests with improved sensitivity, expanded annual testing practices, climatologic and ecological changes enhancing vector survival and expansion, emergence or recognition of novel pathogens, and increased movement of pets as travel companions. Veterinarians have the additional responsibility of providing information about zoonotic pathogen transmission from pets, especially to vulnerable human populations: the immunocompromised, children, and the elderly. Hindering efforts to protect pets and people is the dynamic and ever-changing nature of VBD prevalence and distribution. To address this deficit in understanding, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) began efforts to annually forecast VBD prevalence in 2011. These forecasts provide veterinarians and pet owners with expected disease prevalence in advance of potential changes. This review summarizes the fidelity of VBD forecasts and illustrates the practical use of CAPC pathogen prevalence maps and forecast data in the practice of veterinary medicine and client education.


Stella C. W. Self (a1), Yan Liu (a1), Shila K. Nordone (a2), Michael J. Yabsley (a3) (a4), Heather S. Walden (a5), Robert B. Lund (a1), Dwight D. Bowman (a6), Christopher Carpenter (a7), Christopher S. McMahan (a1) and Jenna R. Gettings (a1) (a3)

  • (a1)1School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA
  • (a2)2Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, Comparative Medicine Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
  • (a3)3Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Department of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
  • (a4)4Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
  • (a5)5Department of Comparative Diagnostic and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  • (a6)6College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • (a7)7Companion Animal Parasite Council, Salem, OR, USA