Parasites are loving climate change

January 7, 2019
Richard Gerhold, DVM, MS, PhD

Richard Gerhold, DVM, MS, PhD

Mark this in the sad but true news column-as things heat up on a global scale, parasites are thriving.

Numerous intermediate hosts of parasites-among them the fleas and ticks whose infestations in your patients are preventable if clients are compliant with their preventives-are expanding their range as the climate changes to the warm side.

We tracked down Richard Gerhold, DVM, MS, PhD, at a recent Fetch dvm360 conference and asked for the details.

"Certain parasites can replicate faster as temperatures increase," Dr. Gerhold says. "And when we examine the parasite's intermediate hosts, which are critical for parasite life cycles, it can lead to finding the parasites in higher densities or different distributions."

Add to that landscaping changes and higher putrefaction of water bodies, and there are more bacteria in the environment to thrive and multiply, leading to increased food availability for some parasites, their intermediate hosts, or both, he says. See more in the video below.

And for more details on the veterinary parasitology effects of climate change from Dr. Gerhold, check out this article.