We would like to thank Leslie Douglas for this great guest post! A lot of very important information for pet owners, especially as we go into the summer season.
We all know that mosquitoes are annoying pests that buzz around and then bite, leaving a welt that itches terribly. Mosquitoes bite humans and animals with no regard to species, and they bring along a number of illnesses. For humans, mosquitoes can lead to such diseases as Yellow Fever and West Nile Virus among others. For animals, the bugs can cause harmful disease and life threatening conditions. As a pet owner, you will be obviously concerned about the safety and well-being of your beloved pet. In order to know how to fight mosquitoes for your safety and your pet’s safety, you must understand just what those bugs can cause for your pet.
Perhaps the most well known mosquito born disease, heartworms can be fatal to dogs and occasionally cats and foxes. Heartworm larvae are carried by mosquitoes and then transmitted to the dog’s bloodstream when the mosquito bites. Once the worms hatch, they reach the dog’s heart, eventually causing death if not treated soon enough. Heartworms are easily controlled by any one of a number of medications designed to kill the worms or repel mosquitoes. EEE, or Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus. EEE is also commonly known as the sleeping sickness due to the symptoms it exhibits. This illness is particularly dangerous since it can infect both humans and horses, causing damage to the central nervous system. The damage the illness causes can lead to death if not treated. EEE can cause everything from headaches to seizures and even comas. Because the illness is mosquito-borne, the best way to avoid it is to kill the insects with something like a Mosquito Magnet or a product with DEET before the mosquitoes have an opportunity to pass on the virus.
SLE, or Saint Louis Encephalitis
Occurring mostly in southern regions, close to the Gulf of Mexico, SLE is mosquito-borne. Causing similar symptoms as EEE, this illness attacks the nervous system of animals and humans. In human cases, generally the illness only poses a danger to small children or the elderly.
The disease can attack domestic pets, such as dogs and cats, as well as livestock, such as horses, chickens, and cattle. The illness is purely mosquito born and can be avoided if steps are taken to repel mosquitoes.
WEE, or Western Equine Encephalitis
This illness is another strain of encephalitis that affects horses alone. A nervous system illness, the disease can lead to death. WEE is transmitted to horses via mosquitoes and is fairly uncommon when compared to other types of encephalitis.
West Nile Virus
Almost everyone has heard of West Nile Virus since it is a fairly new mosquito-borne illness. The virus originated in Africa, around the Nile region and has only threatened the United States in recent years. The virus traveled across continents because it easily infects birds. When a mosquito bites an infected bird and then bites a human or mammal, it can transmit the virus. Exhibiting flu-like symptoms, the illness will eventually cause nervous system damage. It can affect humans, birds, horses, dogs, cats, and other mammals.
Mosquito-borne illnesses can be harmful to humans as well as animals. If you have pets, like cats, dogs or even horses, it is best to be aware of the damage that mosquitoes can cause. They are not just pests, and this is important to remember, especially with the threat of such diseases as West Nile affecting the country in modern times.
Now that you are aware of the diseases that can be caused by mosquitoes, you may be wondering how to prevent these illnesses and protect your pets. With mosquitoes, the best rule is that you need to repel them. When one mosquito appears, there are sure to be many more around, so you will need to repel the whole swarm. When you want to protect both you and your pets from mosquito-borne diseases, there are several options you could consider. While you could choose chemical sprays with DEET, you may prefer a safer, non-poisonous option. The Mosquito Magnet works by actually attracting mosquitoes to it. It then traps the bugs, and it can attract and trap the whole swarm. You can choose various models that can protect up to an acre of land without obstruction. Citronella plants make a great addition to a landscape and can also help repel mosquitoes and other pests. Mosquitoes are an annoyance and they are dangerous. When it comes time to deal with the pests, don’t forget about keeping your pets and other animals safe. They are just as susceptible as you to the diseases that mosquitoes carry, so make sure they are protected.