There are a number of insects that can cause problems for your pet if bitten or stung. Here are some important guidelines for prevention and awareness:
- Bee stings – Many dogs are curious about bees and are allergic to bee stings. This is a common situation that can be lethal; your dog goes outside and finds a bee to pursue. You may never see the bee, but your dog comes home with a swollen face. He may be crying or pawing at his snout or wherever the bee sting occurred, and this may lead to breathing difficulties. Call your veterinarian immediately if this happens.
- Fly bites – While usually not dangerous, fly bites can leave a red ring, which is often mistaken for Lyme Disease. Dogs and cats do not get the typical “target” shaped rash that people get. Of course if your pet is allergic, and you see any of the signs above, call your veterinarian.
- Mosquito bites – While the bite of a healthy mosquito may not be dangerous, those infected with Heartworm can cause your dog, cat, or, more rarely, you to become infected with Heartworm Disease. Preventive medication for Heartworm Disease is available and recommended for both dogs and cats. Even though your cat may never go outside, can you say you have never seen a mosquito in your home? This month we have seen two cases of Heartworm in dogs and one in cats. As far as the Zika virus, the CDC says, “At this time, animals do not appear to be involved in the spread of Zika virus. There is no evidence that Zika virus is spread to people from contact with animals. There have not been any reports of pets or other types of animals becoming sick with Zika virus. However, more research is needed to better understand Zika virus in animals. Animals in the United States are not at risk of becoming sick with Zika virus.”
- Fleas – Fleas are an itchy nuisance to pets, and some pets may also be prone to Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Those with allergies can literally scratch themselves raw. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms in dogs and cats, and Bartonella in cats. Again, prevention is the best medicine, and there are flea preventatives available in topical or oral form.
- Ticks – Among the most disease causing insects, they can transmit Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Cytauxzoon Felis, and Rickettsia. We have been seeing 7-10 new cases of Lyme Disease for over one year. Please use a Tick preventive medication and help avoid the heartache and expense of these diseases.