Mosquitoes are a common nuisance for humans and pets during warm months. While we might swat them away to avoid annoyance, our furry friends cannot protect themselves from their itchy, irritating bites.
Mosquito bites on our furry friends are a concern that often goes overlooked, including risks of infections and allergic reactions from itchiness and frequent scratching and the likelihood of fatal disease transmission, such as heartworm disease and encephalitis.
Therefore, understanding the potential risks and implications of mosquito bites on dogs is essential for their well-being.
Understanding the Risks of Mosquito Bites on Dogs
Mosquitoes are not just a source of irritation for dogs; they can also pose significant health risks.
Unlike humans, who are prone to itching and localized reactions to mosquito bites, dogs can react differently to these bites.
The impact extends beyond simple irritation, raising concerns about dormant health risks and the need for preventive measures to safeguard their well-being.
A recent study on vector-borne diseases concluded that more than 250,000 dogs are diagnosed annually with heartworms caused by bites from infected mosquitos.
In fact, heartworm diseases are prevalent in dogs and may even cause death if left untreated. Therefore, learning about the possible risks of nasty mosquito bites is essential.
Let us look further into the possible risks of mosquito bites in dogs and their treatments.
1. Heartworm Disease
One of the most common health risks associated with mosquito bites in dogs is heartworm disease.
Heartworm, also known as Dirofilaria immitis, is a parasitic roundworm disease caused by an infected mosquito bite.
When an infected mosquito carrying larvae bites a dog, it transmits the larvae into their bloodstream.
The larvae mature into long worms in about seven months and then lodge into the dog's heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels, leading to heartworm disease.
Remember, a dog can be infected with as many as 250 worms in its system and show no visible signs
Look out for some common signs like:
- A soft and dry cough
- Inactivity or lethargy
- Weight loss or anorexia
- Rapid or difficulty breathing
- Bulging chest
The veterinarian will administer an injectable drug, melarsomine (Immiticide®) or Ivermectin, in a series to kill adult heartworms.
It may well take over four months for your dog to completely recover; hence, talk to the veterinarian in Des Moines
for a complete care schedule.
2. Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Virus
Aside from heartworm disease, mosquitoes can transmit other diseases to dogs, albeit less commonly.
Eastern equine encephalitis is a severe disease transmitted by infected mosquitos. Commonly found in horses, a mosquito can easily carry the virus through its bite and transfer it to hosts like dogs and humans.
Remember, it is prevalent in freshwater hardwood swamps in the Atlantic, Gulf Coast, and Great Lakes regions.
Look out for common symptoms like fever and diarrhea, followed by anorexia, seizures, and recumbency.
However, no specific treatment exists for the EEE virus, and veterinarians can only provide supportive treatments to subside the severity of the illness.
3. Allergic Reactions
Dogs may exhibit allergic reactions to mosquito bites and saliva. Some dogs might show minor symptoms such as swelling, redness, or itching.
You will notice tiny, raised, itchy welts at the site of the bite, sometimes singular or multiple bites.
Dogs often start itching and licking on the bitten site, making it more visible. However, most allergies are short-term and subside immediately.
On the other hand, some dogs might experience severe allergic reactions, leading to facial swelling, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis.
Such severe reactions require immediate veterinary attention.
How to Prevent Diseases from Mosquito Bites
Here are a few proven ways to protect yourself and your dog from infectious mosquito bites.
1. Use of Preventive Medications
Veterinarians often recommend preventive medications, such as monthly heartworm preventives.
These medications not only help in preventing heartworm disease but might also offer protection against other parasitic infections.
These can include chewable tablets, topical treatments, or injections such as Ivermectin (sold under the brand names Heartgard or Iverhart), Milbemycin (Interceptor Flavor Tabs and Sentinel Flavor Tabs), and Moxidectin (ProHeart).
2. Environmental Control
Reducing the mosquito population in your dog's environment is crucial.
Swiping standing water where mosquitoes breed, using mosquito repellents specifically formulated for dogs (consulting with a vet before application), and using mosquito nets or screens in outdoor spaces can help reduce the risk of bites.
Limit their outdoor time in summer when the mosquitos are prevalent. Choose early morning for a jog or walk.
3. Regular Veterinary Check-ups
Regular veterinary check-ups are vital for monitoring your dog's health and taking preventive measures.
Regular checkups can detect heartworm and other diseases early so that you can undertake immediate treatment based on the prevalent risks.
Veterinarians often recommend preventive medications, such as monthly heartworm preventives. These medications not only help in preventing heartworm disease but might also offer protection against other parasitic infections.
Revisiting Important Facts
- Mosquito bites can cause severe reactions in dogs, posing multiple health risks.
- Dogs are also prone to common health hazards like heartworm disease and allergic reactions.
- Under the guidance of your go-to veterinary doctor, you must regularly visit for regular check-ups.
- Mosquito bites can indeed harm dogs, not just by causing discomfort but also by potentially transmitting diseases that pose serious health risks.
- Undertaking the risk associated with mosquito bites and taking cautious measures is essential for the well-being of your canine companions.
Proactively preventing mosquito bites can significantly reduce the risks associated with these tiny yet potentially harmful insects.
Consulting with your vet comes in handy as they can provide you with a recommended course of treatment.
Therefore, prioritize preventive measures and seek the best doggy daycare in Urbandale’s guidance to ensure your beloved furry friend's happy and healthy life.