Morinville has been having the rain, and soon it will be followed by the heat. That means we can expect a full-out air assault of mosquitoes to be on it’s way very soon. While you are preparing to protect yourself, Dr. High at Morinville Vet Clinic asks you to take a minute to consider doing something to protect your pets.
Aside from causing irritating, itchy bites, mosquitoes can be a source of disease spread. Many parts of Canada have a blood parasite called heartworm that is spread by mosquitoes. Thankfully, the Edmonton area does not have this parasite yet, but it will one day. What it does have is West Nile Virus, a disease carried by mosquitoes that affects people and dogs. It is not very common, but it is very serious!
With the mosquito population explosion, the staff at our Morinville animal hospital are getting a lot of questions about products to keep mosquitoes away. According to Dr High, there are several options.
The one type of control that is not a safe option is a mosquito repellant that controls a chemical called DEET (the real name is much longer). DEET is one of the most effective chemicals for human mosquito repellants, but it is dangerous for dogs, and may be lethal for cats. Pets tend to lick themselves and swallow the repellant. Toxic levels of DEET poison the nervous system and cause seizures. Not only do cats groom more than dogs, they are more sensitive to DEET.
There are mosquito sprays that have little or no DEET in them. These are usually sold as products for children (for example, Off Skintastic). There are numerous herbal bug sprays that have compounds that repel mosquitoes (Ectopamine contains lemongrass oil and cinnamon). Many people swear by spraying their pets with dilute solutions of Avon Skin-So-Soft.
There are a lot of pets in the Morinville community that stay outside and need a product that lasts longer than a spray. One option is Advantix, a treatment that is put onto the back once a month. This medicine is absorbed into the oils of the coat and repels mosquitoes for a month. Advantix can never be used on cats because it is poisonous to them. Even dogs that have been treated have to stay away from cats for 24 hours after treatment.
Sometimes, the best way to protect pets against mosquitoes is to avoid the mosquitoes. Keep pets indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Get rid of standing water around your house, where mosquitoes can multiply. Mosquitoes will never be eliminated, but they can be minimized.
If you are unsure of whether or not you are using a safe method of keeping mosquitos away from your pets, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Morinville Veterinary Clinic.
Written by Dr. Michael High