Archive for category Heartworms in Dogs

Getting Your Pet Ready for Spring

It's not a post about pets without a picture of Wiley. This big-earred pup can't wait for spring!

It’s not a post about pets without a picture of Wiley. This big-earred pup can’t wait for spring!

Warm spring weather is (hopefully) just around the corner. That means it’s time to move it outdoors and enjoy it! From hiking and walking to trips to the dog park, my furry friend, Wiley, and I spend as much time as we can outdoors when it is nice out. The warm weather doesn’t just bring green grass and flowers, however, it also means biting bugs that can harm people and dogs and cats, like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

Just like humans, our beloved pets are at risk for vector-borne disease.

Fleas are one of the easier pests when it comes to determining their presence. Both dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva and will scratch and chew when they have fleas. And just one flea can bite nearly 350 times in one day! While it is uncommon, fleas can transmit disease to dogs, cats and humans alike.

When it comes to ticks, your pet isn’t going to let you know that it has one because it doesn’t make them itch as much as flea bites. They may not look like they are being harmed or bothered by anything, but that may not be the case. Ticks transmit Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis dogs. There is even an illnesses called tick paralysis that can harm our four-legged friends.

When it comes to protecting your pets from flea and ticks, it’s about controlling the pests and being vigilant. Talk to your veterinarian about topical medications or collars. Additionally, there are flea and tick treatments for your yard that will help. At Mosquito Squad, our traditional barrier spray eliminates adult ticks on contact. We also have additional applications we use to combat ticks more aggressively as well as fleas. Even when your pet is protected with medication or yard treatments, they should be checked after spending time in areas where ticks and fleas are known to be. For example, Wiley had topical treatments, but still had ticks last year after hiking. If your dog or cat has a tick, remove it using tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it is needed for testing. If they have fleas, they will need a flea bath and you will need to check to see if your home needs to be sprayed.

When it comes to mosquitoes, they transmit one of the most dangerous vector-borne diseases for some animals: heartworm.  The roundworm travels to the heart where it matures and grows. If it isn’t treated, heartworm can be fatal. It is highly recommended that animals take a heartworm medication. It should be prescribed after a heartworm test has been done on the animal.

Symptoms of canine heartworm are coughing, not wanting to exercise, fainting and a rapid heartbeat. Feline heartworm symptoms include coughing, vomiting and depression.

Professional mosquito control will also help protect your pets from heartworm by cutting down on your property’s mosquito population. The mosquito spray that we utilize eliminates mosquitoes on contact and provides continued protection for up to 21 days.

If you have questions on how to protect your pets from vector-borne disease, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Heartworm Awareness Month – Protect those Pets!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

April, in case you didn’t know, is heartworm awareness month. Heartworm is a deadly disease that affects both dogs and cats and is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Here are some things you should know about heartworm and how to protect your beloved pets from this dangerous illness:

  • It's important to protect these cute guys from the dangers of mosquitoes

    It’s important to protect these cute guys from the dangers of mosquitoes

    Heartworms enters the body in a larvae stage. They then make their way to the heart and lungs where they develop into mature worms

  • A heartworm can reach up to 12 inches in length (gross)
  • Heartworms do not affect humans
  • Symptoms of heartworm include coughing and not wanting to exercise
  • Monthly heartworm medication not only protects your pets against infected bites, but will kill any immature heartworms present in the body
  • Cats are less susceptible to heartworm than dogs
  • 25% of the feline heartworm cases occur in indoor cats
  • There is no heartworm treatment for cats, just prevention. Dogs can be treated for heartworm, but it is a costly and difficult treatment
  • Heartworm is present in all 50 states, but is most common on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts
  • Adult heartworms look like cooked spaghetti
  • A heartworm blood test looks for and detects a protein in the blood that is produced by female heartworms
  • Heartworms can live in the canine body for up to 7 years
  • The first article covering heartworm was written in 1847 and published in the Western Journal of Medicine.

Heartworm is a serious illness that is easily prevented. If you are a pet owner, make sure to have your furry friend regularly tested for heartworm (as recommended by your veterinarian) and is given its monthly heartworm medication.

Mosquito-borne illness, including heartworm, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever, is a growing concern in the United States. At Mosquito Squad, we help protect families from these dangerous pests with our mosquito control for the yard. Our protective mosquito spray is applied to the areas of your yard where mosquitoes are most likely to feed, breed and harbor, ridding the areas of mosquitoes before they can bite you. Our barrier spray is available in both the standard and all natural formula. The standard formula lasts up to 21 days and reduces your mosquito population by up to 90%. The all natural option, in comparison, needs to be reapplied every 14 days and cuts the mosquito population by 85%.

If you have questions regarding Mosquito Squad and our mosquito control services, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Protecting Fiddo from Fleas and Ticks Year Round

The beginning of every month I give my dog Wiley his heartworm medication as well as a topical flea and tick medication. When I first got the splendid animal, I remember asking my veterinarian about when I needed to use flea and tick medicine. Particularly, I wanted to know if I needed to use it all year round. My vet told me that it was recommended in places like Virginia that dogs are protected year round from nuisance bugs.

Fleas are not only annoying and itchy to dogs, but can also cause longer term damage. Some dogs scratch so hard they have permanent fur loss and scarring in certain places. Ticks also transmit diseases like erlichiosis and Lyme disease. Unfortunately many pet owners think that fleas and ticks are only active in the spring and summer months, which isn’t the case.

Both fleas and ticks can live all year round depending on the weather. Both need a good freeze before they can be noted as inactive. With some parts of the country seeing record highs, fleas and ticks could be on the move. When the winter comes to a close, ticks become active in temperatures over 40 degrees. Fleas usually die off outdoors in the fall and winter months, but can live indoors year round.

The FDA regulates the production of flea and tick medicines and provides these tips for using the products:

  • Read the label carefully.
  • Apply exactly as recommended.
  • Keep pets away from each other until the product dries (so they don’t accidentally ingest some).
  • Monitor for side effects.
  • Ask your vet before applying on older pets
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after applying
  • If your dog shows any side effects, wash your dog with mild soap and water
  • Don’t use on puppies or kittens.

For more information, check out the FDA’s page on flea and tick medication.

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Mosquito Protection Helps Keep Man’s Best Friend Heartworm Free

The family dog is the only one willing to fetch your slippers for you. He is also the one who is always glad to see you at the end of the day. No matter the circumstances or how bad of a day you have had, your dog is always the one awaiting your return with a sparkle in his eye and a wagging tail. Our dogs just make us happy. Whether you have a dog that is a watch dog or a couch potato they are a beloved member of our families. Your dog is always looking out for your best interests. Whether they are alerting us of a visitor, a rodent that is not welcome in the home or alerting of us danger. Shouldn’t we keep their best interests in mind the way they do ours? Dogs provide us with so much and ask for so little in return. It is crucial that we protect our pets as best we can when it comes to insects, parasites, and most importantly against heartworms.

Lifecycle of Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Most people don’t realize that heartworms actually come from mosquitoes. Unlike many other worms dogs can contract, heartworms are spread solely by infected mosquitoes. Heartworm disease has been reported in all fifty states. It only takes one bite to give your dog heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is easy to prevent and costly and difficult to cure, in some cases the cure is not effective and even with treatment the disease can be fatal.

Heart of a German Shepherd Postmortem w/ Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a specific parasite that only infects dogs, cats, ferrets and other small mammals. Very rare cases of humans contracting heartworms have been reported, although in these cases the heartworm did not complete the life cycle. Once an infected mosquito has bitten the dog it takes about seven months for the heartworm larvae to mature into an adult heartworm. The adult heartworm then lodges in the heart, lungs and blood vessels and begins to reproduce. An adult heartworm can live up to seven years in your dog and can grow up to a foot long. Some infected dogs can have hundreds in their systems.

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

This disease is highly preventable. There are a wide variety of heartworm preventative available from your veterinarian. There are tablets, topicals and even injectable preventatives that are very inexpensive and easy to use. You and your dog’s veterinarian should decide which preventative is best for you and your dog. Since no preventative offers 100% protection, there are also safeguards to take at home to prevent heartworm disease from infecting your dog.

Keeping the area around your home tidy and free of dead brush and standing water is a good preventative. This is a common sense checklist to go over routinely throughout the mosquito active months that will ensure you and your dog get fewer mosquito bites. Contacting a licensed professional to apply a barrier spray is an excellent preventative tool to discourage mosquito activity in your lawn. Your local Mosquito Squad technician can meet with you to plan a mosquito free season for you and man’s best friend. Contact Mosquito squad today to make you and your pooch happy.

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