Oh My Mozzie! They are everywhere. The big ones, the small ones and every size in between. You don’t dare leave the house without insect repellent for fear of being carried away by them. And they will only continue to get worse over the next few weeks.
After lasts weeks deluge, courtesy of ex-tropical cyclone Debbie, we were inundated with flood water, which although mostly subsided it has left some still water and puddles behind and this is providing the perfect conditions for mosquitoes to multiply.
As annoying as mosquitoes are to us humans they will also bother our pets like dogs, cats and horses. Their coats do provide some natural protection to mozzies, particularly long thick coats but the mozzies will still happily feed on the their blood.
Mosquito bites are common in pets and the majority of the time they will only cause mild skin irritation although some pets can be more allergic to their bite than others. You might find your pet’s scratching, biting or licking at an itchy mozzie bite and the skin can become irritated and inflamed. Occasionally the bites can become infected, especially if the are constantly being scratched at causing the skin to break and allowing bacteria into the wound. The greatest concern with mosquito bites is the transmission of disease. Some pathogens can be transmitted during the mosquito feeding process with the most concerning disease being Heartworm, which can be fatal if left untreated. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes from one infected host to another and most commonly affects dogs but it can also infect cats. For more information on Heartworm disease please visit the vet-n-pet DIRECT Help Centre article on Heartworm here.
So how do we keep mosquitoes off our pets and stop the biting? The key is using an insect repellent that has been specifically designed for the animal you are wanting to protect. Most repellents are pyrethrin based combined with other ingredients, some that are often found in human insect repellents. There is a wide range of insect repellent sprays available that you apply to the animal once or twice daily. There are also some creams available which often have antibacterial properties and are great for wound care and keeping insects off broken skin. Advantix for dog’s is a topical spot on treatment that you apply once a month to repel and kill stable flies, sandflies and the mosquitoes also while providing flea and tick treatment. Keeping your dog or horse covered up with a coat or rug will also help in stopping the mozzies from being able to bite them. The Weatherbeeta Supafly Dog Coat is a good choice for dog’s or a rug like KEZ Summer Ripstop Horse Rug will help protect your horse.
You should never use a human insect repellent on animals as there are some ingredients that are extremely toxic to pets such as DEET’s, which can induce vomiting, seizures and even death. Cats are particularly sensitive to synthetic pyrethrins and DEET’s so products that are suitable for use on dogs are often highly toxic to cats and should never be used directly on cats or even on dogs that have close contact with cats. If you ever think your cat has come in contact with an unsuitable repellent or if your think your pet is having an adverse reaction to a repellent please contact your veterinarian immediately for advice.
Until next time,