Companion Animal Parasite Council pioneers celebrated

Thirty years ago, there was no such thing as routine parasite control. Today, there are multiple options for easy testing and prevention to keep pets protected year-round, and that seismic shift is due in part to the founding of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) in 2002.

An independent, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the threat parasites present to pets and their families, the CAPC acknowledged that legacy by celebrating distinguished parasitologists and founding board members Dwight Bowman, PhD, and Byron Blagburn, PhD, at a dinner in Irving, Texas on February 11.

In attendance to pay their respects were AAHA President-elect Margot Vahrenwald, DVM, and AVMA president-elect Lori Teller, DVM.

“It was a really great event of celebration for all their work and achievements in the veterinary and One Health worlds and a great education and reminder to me of all the improvements for pets and for educational content for owners and veterinarians that their work helped to build,” Vahrenwald told NEWStat. “We no longer have to see puppies die from flea-caused anemia and so much more.”

Teller was equally effusive:  “CAPC is a tremendous resource for the veterinary profession,” she said. “I think their contributions are probably under-recognized.”

She also noted the staggering amount of research that has gone into the recognition and awareness of parasitic diseases that impact both companion animal and public health, and the CAPC’s role in that.

Blagburn and Bowman were integral to that effort.  

Both were instrumental in the primary research that developed every preventative against heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, and flea/ticks since the mid-1970s, a body of work that Vahrenwald called, “An incredible evolution and revolution in the products changing the world for the better.”

NEWStat reached out to both Blagburn and Bowman to ask about their goals in co-founding the CAPC.

“We sought to create a comprehensive, web-based source of information for veterinarians worldwide,” said Blagburn, a professor of pathobiology at Auburn. “It has succeeded beyond our greatest expectation due principally to excellent continuing leadership and expansion of our efforts to include prevalence and forecast maps.”

Bowman, a professor of parasitology at Cornell, told NEWStat, “Our goal was pretty much what it remains today: To get each dog checked, treated if necessary, and protected against parasites.”

He added, in what might be considered a bit of an understatement, “I believe overall it has been good for the pet-care personnel and the pet-owner communities.”

And how.

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