It is certainly the season for annoying little insects buzzing around and in the grass. Not only can these insects affect us, but they can affect our pets also, sometimes with devastating consequences. A short summary of some annoying little insects including mosquitoes, fleas, bees, ticks and mites can be found below.
Transmitted by mosquitoes, heartworm is literally a worm in the heart. More prevalent in areas near water, this disease can be fatal to dogs. Through testing and an annual vaccination it can be easily prevented.
Fleas are another common biting insect that proliferate in the warmer months. You’ll notice your pet intensely itching above their tail, back legs or groin. Seen as tiny black dots, flea droppings are easy to detect. Treatment can be in either a spot-on or tablet formulation. Prevention relies on regular monthly applications of all cats and dogs in the household.
Just like humans, our pets will feel the sting of a bee or mosquito bite. They may chew or lick the area, or in some cases break out in hives or swell immensely to the point of impacting their breathing or eyesight. Mild reactions usually settle without treatment, but if the dog has had a severe reaction, is in distress or you are concerned, an antihistamine can be administered by your vet.
Owners need to be mindful of ticks when travelling to costal areas and walking in tall grass. Checking your dog nose-to-tail after every walk and yourself also, will help identify a tick before the effects become evident, and can be fatal in some cases.
Similar to antivenin for snake bites, a tick antiserum is required to treat animals affected by paralysis ticks. Prevention is always better than cure though, so ensure your pet is up to date with their tick prevention prior to travelling to high risk areas.
Mange is caused by microscopic biting insects known as mites. Evidence of a mite infestation will be intense itching as well as skin inflammation or sores and hair loss. Mostly contracted from native wildlife such as foxes or wombats, treating is easy and effective once a definitive diagnosis is made.
Bottom line is, if you are concerned about your pet’s sudden itching, skin condition, or would like to know more about preventatives, please visit your vet for more information.