Archive for category Ehrlichiosis

Protecting your Dog from the Dangers of Ticks

When you think of ticks, what do you think? Gross? Definitely. Hard to see and detect? You bet. Lyme disease? Absolutely? Paralysis? Probably not. These little buggers can be very dangerous to our beloved pets, and it isn’t just Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, they can cause paralysis too.

IMG_4126My mother and I are dog lovers. That’s my man, Wiley, to the right. I’m a sucker for his ears, but I digress. Recently my mom was telling me about a friend who has a dog. Their dog Buster had always been healthy and active, but in a matter of just 5 weeks had lost nearly 30 pounds and wouldn’t go on walks. After several tests and visits to the vet, they found the culprit. Ticks. The poor pup had 3 or 4 ticks under his armpit, a very difficult spot to see and check. They were causing the issues.

Ticks, when they aren’t noticed and removed quickly can cause paralysis in dogs, and sometimes even humans. Some ticks carry a toxin that is released into their host while feeding. That toxin affects movement control.

It’s important that dog owners thoroughly check their dogs for ticks after spending time in areas where ticks are known to live. The toxin may be released after 3 days of attachment. Luckily, when the tick is removed, the symptoms of paralysis will subside. Buster recovered quickly and is back to his normal self.

Ticks checks are an important piece of protecting your pet from tick-borne disease. To check your dog, pet it slowly while applying more pressure than normal. Many times, you will feel a bump that you can then look closely at. Make sure to check their elbows, inside of their legs and in between toes. Those are often ticks favorite hiding spot on a dog.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect pets with our effective tick control. Our tick services include a combination of our barrier spray treatment and tick tubes. The spray eliminates ticks on contact while the tubes get them earlier in their lifecycle.

If you’d like to discuss reducing the number of ticks on your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Kevin Bacon Releases PSA with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance

Have you every played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Not sure how to play? Pick an actor or actress and try to connect them to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. It’s a way to pass time, but I can tell you one thing that just got closer to the Following actor: Lyme disease.

Despite starring in a scary crime show, one of the things that scares Kevin Bacon the most is Lyme disease. He and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, have a home in Connecticut where Lyme disease is prominent. When the kids were little they made it a nightly chore to check the kids each night for ticks after they had spent time outdoors.

This week, Bacon teamed up with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance for this Public Service Announcement:

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) works to raise awareness for tick-borne disease. They work with other groups around the nation to support initiatives looking to find cures for diseases like Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and more.

One of the most difficult parts of tick-borne diseases is getting a proper diagnosis. The TBDA is working on improving both the diagnostics and treatment for these dangerous diseases.

At Mosquito Squad, we offer professional tick treatments for your yard through our barrier spray and tick tubes. Our traditional barrier spray treatment eliminates ticks on contact.

Tick tubes are a great product to use in your battle against ticks and tick-borne disease. They are placed in areas of your property where mice are known to travel like along fences and under decks. The tubes are filled with treated cotton that the mice take back to their nests. The tick control solution then gets on the mice’ skin and since the majority of ticks get their first blood meal from mice, it eliminates them.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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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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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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Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Earlier this week one of my coworkers had to take her dog, Belle, to the vet for a routine checkup. While testing Belle’s blood for her annual heartworm test, the vet ran tests for Lyme and Ehrlichiosis because of the high number of ticks this season. While Belle wasn’t displaying any symptoms of a tick-borne illness, tests showed that she did indeed have Ehrlichiosis. Luckily, Belle is on her way to a full recovery through a series of antibiotics.

Brown Dog Ticks like this one are Vectors for Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to dogs through the bite of brown dog ticks. Brown dog ticks are present throughout the United States and primarily feed on dogs, but do sometimes bite people. Unlike other ticks, they are commonly found indoors hiding in cracks, under rugs and furniture and on walls. Brown dog ticks are often called kennel ticks because they were commonly found in kennels across the U.S.

Once infected with Ehrlichiosis, there are three phases of the disease. The first, the acute state, starts a few weeks after transmission and lasts for up to a month. While some dogs may have lower blood counts during this time, the most common symptom is fever.

The second phase is called the subclinical phase and has no outward symptoms. In many cases, dogs stay in this phase for years, if not the rest of their life. While they are infected with the bacteria, they show no outward signs and some canines are able to successfully fight off the disease.

The third and most serious phase of Ehrlichiosis is the chronic stage. Dogs in the chronic phase will show symptoms including, weight loss, pale gums, lameness and coughing. In rare cases, when the dog doesn’t respond to treatment, Ehrlichiosis can be fatal.

Belle’s vet told my coworker that this year, as compared to the past, has brought a higher number of Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis diagnoses in canines. While dogs respond well to treatment for both diseases, the best way to protect your furry friend from becoming ill is to protect them against tick bites. Topical tick medication will kill (and sometimes repel depending on your brand) ticks when they bite your dog. If you want added protection, try tick control in your yard. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray and tick tubes will get to the ticks, before they get to our dogs. Contact your local Squad if you want to learn more about our tick control options.

If you are worried that your dog may have contracted a tick-borne disease, make sure to ask your vet to do a blood test on your next visit.

And just because no dog post is complete without a picture of a dog and I don’t have a picture of Belle, here’s one of Wiley and his big ears.

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The Lone Star tick moves into the spotlight


Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad-kills mosquitoes and ticks dead!

In the pursuit of tick control and  helping homeowners avoid tick-borne illness and disease Mosquito Squad takes heed to another tick moving  into the spotlight. The Lone Star tick  (Amblyomma americanum), also known as the seed tick can be found as far north as Maine all the way down into Texas. The tick is found in wooded areas such as forests and other areas with dense vegetation. The population of the Lone Star tick is quickly rising along with the areas it is being found in. The CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and prevention) has reported an increase in the distribution, range and abundance of this tick over the past 20-30 years.

The Lone Star tick gets its name from the predominant white spot located on the back of the female, also known as a “lone star”. Even though the females are easily recognizable from this distinguishable characteristic, identification can prove difficult because the Lone Star tick feeds off humans and other animals such as pets during all three life cycles, larva, nymph and adult. During the nymph stage the Lone Star tick is comparable in size to a mite. The tiny size of the tick during this stage can result in victims not being aware they have been bitten at all until problems begin to arise.

Small tick on finger

Small ticks such as the Lone Star tick during nymph stage are hard to see and identify

Lone Star ticks are known carriers of diseases such as Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. A newer disease associated with the Lone Star has come into the forefront called STARI,( Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness), which mimics symptoms usually seen with the onset of early  Lyme Disease. These include a rash, or expanding red “bulls eye” lesion that develops around the site of the bite itself. This is accompanied by fatigue, headaches, fever, and joint and muscle pain. Even though STARI has not been linked to any arthritic, neurological or other chronic symptoms it is still an uncomfortable and scary undertaking to experience. STARI is easily treatable with oral antibiotics, and symptoms resolve promptly following treatment.


Mosquito Squad can treat your property to kill and prevent ticks, even in dense and wooded areas

Avoidance of  wooded and densely brushy areas is key to prevention of tick-borne illness. Checking yourself and your pets after each encounter with  any wooded areas is a must. Keeping your property trimmed and free of brush piles or clippings is a good preventative measure as well as having your property treated for ticks by a licensed professional. A licensed professional can go over what tick control program is best to suited to the circumstances and individual traits of your property. Barrier sprays such as the ones used here at Mosquito Squad are an effective weapon in tick control as well our use of the Damminix tick tubes.

camoticktubes by Damminix

Damminix tick tubes

Damminix tick tubes are an innovative and effective solution to tick control. These tick tubes are filled with Permethrin treated cotton balls which are used by small animals such as mice as nesting materials.  Since the deer tick and other ticks feed off the mice in large numbers, the ticks are exposed to the Permethrin and are killed at the source. The Damminix tick tubes cause no harm to mice or other mammals during this process and have proved highly beneficial to tick control in areas all over the country.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad uses Damminix tick tubes as well as a barrier spray which kills adult ticks on contact. Contact Mosquito Squad to find out more about tick control and ways to prevent ticks and tick-borne illness in your neck of the woods. Call us at 877-667-7823 or email us at   to find out more.

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Are you letting the bedbugs bite?

Dread Skeeter fights the Mosquito and Tick bites

Dread Skeeter fights the Mosquito and Tick bites

“Night, night sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”. The sweet, innocent bedtime saying many of us say to our children when it is bedtime. The elusive bedbug however is not so innocent. During the 1990’s the bedbug made a comeback.  The resurgence of the bedbug can be attributed to several reasons. Shifts in pest management play a role as well as resistance to certain pesticides. During the last ten to twenty years international travel has become commonplace allowing the bedbugs to hitch a ride so to speak on our clothing and luggage. We, as a society have also let our guard down to these resilient little bugs by thinking that bedbugs are a thing of the past.

Common bedbugs , their proper name being  cimex lectularius, were thought to have originated in the Middle east in caves inhabited by bats and humans. Bedbugs were mentioned as far back as 400 BC in ancient Greece. Bedbugs were a serious problem during World War II, General MacArthur actually commented that bedbugs were the “greatest nuisance insect problem….at bases in the U.S.”

With the introduction of more effective pesticides during the 1940’s the bedbugs nearly disappeared completely in Western countries. Bedbugs are parasites that are usually no more than 1/5 of an inch in length. Bedbugs feed on blood of humans and other animals. Bedbugs are nocturnal and most often feed when people are asleep. An adult female bedbug can lay up to 500 eggs during her lifetime. When a bedbug feeds it injects a salivary secretion to the bite to discourage coagulation, the secretion can cause itching and swelling. Although bedbug bites are not known to carry any human blood-borne pathogens, the bites can be painful, and can cause distress. Scratching the bites can lead to secondary infections and some people have been shown to have allergic reactions to the bites. Bedbugs reside and lay their eggs in your furniture, the box springs and folds of your mattress, they can hide in the cracks of your hardwood floors, in your carpet, behind pictures, in your luggage and even behind baseboards and other places in your home.

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad fights mosquito and tick bites

There are many ways to pick up bedbugs. One way is travel. Hotels, motels and resorts have a constant turnover of guests. You can bring them home unknowingly on and in your luggage and clothing. It is a common misconception that bedbugs thrive in filth, this is not true. Bedbugs can infest any type of dwelling. They can show up in luxury resorts as well as the cheaper “chain” hotels and motels. Bedbugs can also come into your home by way of infested furniture. Make sure any “second hand” furniture purchases from garage sales, consignment shops, antique shops and thrift store purchases are cleaned thoroughly before entering the home. Pets can bring the parasites into your home. People visiting from a source of infestation can also bring them into your home. People who live in nearby dwellings such as apartments and town homes can have the bedbugs come into their home by way of duct work if there are easy routes. Bedbugs are common with wild animals too, especially bats, rodents and birds. Bedbugs will often nest near animals that have also nested in a dwelling. A well fed bedbug can live anywhere from four to six months. A dormant bedbug can live without feeding for as much as 18 months. With the long span and capability of a dormant bedbug to lie dormant for that amount of time and emerge and begin to feed it is a good idea to make sure any items that you bring into your home and are unsure of their history should be inspected and thoroughly cleaned. An infestation of bed bugs can get out of control quickly with the number of eggs a female is capable of laying in her lifetime.

Now that you’re fully “grossed out” and probably itching just reading this article, you can fight the bedbug war. Detection of bedbugs is not as difficult as you may think. Even though these parasites are tiny, they still can be seen with the naked eye. They are experts at hiding however and are nocturnal and usually only come out at night. You can look for signs that you have an infestation by examining your mattress and bedding for any blood spots or brownish or reddish spots. These are called fecal spots. You can also sometimes identify an infestation by checking for evidence of their skins that have sloughed off during moulting. In severe cases sometimes a pungent odor is prevalent. This is a result of the oily liquid they emit. The most obvious of all the signs that you may have a bedbug infestation is the bite itself. The bites can be red and blotchy or welt like. Early detection is always a plus in helping control an infestation.

Knowledge is always power with the treatment of bedbugs. The best course of action once you have determined you have an infestation is to contact a professional. Remember that the bed is usually ground zero (hence the name), but it is not the only place they reside. It is a good idea to eliminate clutter around your home. Anything you deem is infected and decide to discard should be sealed and labeled so no one else will become infected. Mattresses and box springs that are being disposed of should also be labeled and sealed in the same manner for safe disposal.  Treatment will depend on how serious the infestation is and the range of action taken by the  professional could range from industrial vacuuming to heat treatments , encasement of  mattresses in plastic cover and /or the application of pesticides . Follow up visits may be necessary by your professional to ensure the problem is taken care of.

Like mosquito and tick bites, it’s good to be vigilant and take some time to inspect your bites. While bed bug bites are annoying and cause frustration and concern, at least they aren’t known to carry disease like mosquito and tick bites.

Remember, mosquito and tick bites can be prevented before they happen and in that case, prevention is the best cure. Have your yard sprayed on a regular basis during the spring, summer and early fall season. You can also take extra precautions against ticks by having an expert lay a product called tick tubes which animals will take back to their breeding and sleeping grounds. Click here to read more about tick tubes.


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