More Mosquitoes Plaguing Dog Owners
Record high heat and rainy days mean more bugs and increased risk of heartworm in dogs.
Posted: September 16, 2010, 2 a.m. EDT
More mosquito bites than usual this summer? You’re not alone. Record high heat and wet days over the last several months have increased mosquito activity across much of the U.S.
Unfortunately, more mosquitoes mean more cases of mosquito-related diseases such as heartworm. Dogs become infected with heartworm through the bite of a mosquito carrying the larvae of the worms. The worms migrate through the dog’s body (victims also include cats and even humans) and ultimately take up residence in the blood vessels connecting the heart to the lungs.
Once a pet is infected, treatment is extremely risky and expensive. “There are numerous side effects to treatments, for example the patient can develop blood clots,” explains Mark Stickney, D.V.M., clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
The best prevention is to get your dog on a regular heartworm preventative (in either pill or topical form), so check with your veterinarian for advice.
Stickney says it’s also important to mosquito-proof your property – year-round. “Get rid of standing water,” he says. “If you have a pond, lake or tank on your property, put mosquito dunks in the water to prevent mosquito eggs and larvae from developing.” Fix or install window and door screens to help keep mosquitoes, which can survive even in cold weather, out of the house.
“Don’t assume that just because your cat or dog has long hair that mosquitoes won’t bite them, because they will,” Stickney says. “If your pet is an inside animal they are also affected by mosquitoes because mosquitoes can force themselves inside too. The best method is to take preventive measures because an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.”
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