What to Know About Dangers of Mosquitoes for Your Family and Pets
It is time to ready your pets and family for spring and more mosquitoes. The National Pest Management Association is out with its biannual Bug Barometer and it looks like it could be a big season for mosquitoes.
Drawing on weather patterns and long-term predictions, the entomologists believe everyone’s least favorite neighbors will arrive in full force as our weather warms up.
Scientists say a wet winter and La Niña, the cool phase of a natural climate pattern in Pacific Ocean, are creating conditions favorable to mosquitoes which spread misery and disease to people and animals.
This is how the conditions for pests are shaping up across the United States.
Jim Fredericks, Ph.D. explains, “Residual moisture is a prime attraction for pests, especially home-damaging termites and mosquitoes known for transmitting disease, and conditions are ideal for when these pests typically flourish in the springtime.”
Mosquito-borne diseases are among the world’s leading causes of illness and death. Viral encephalitis, the West Nile virus, the Zika virus and malaria are just a few of the illnesses mosquitoes spread to people.
Heartworm is a deadly, but preventable parasite spread by mosquitoes to animals. Heartworms primarily infect dogs, cats and ferrets. They also infect a variety of wild animals. This is important to know because they can only be transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes.
Since heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, any pet exposed to mosquitoes should be tested. Because mosquitoes can also get into homes, this puts indoor-only pets at risk of infection as well.
The American Heartworm Society recommends testing pets every 12 months for heartworm and giving your pet a heartworm preventive 12 months a year.
Heartworm is a progressive, life-threatening disease. The earlier it is detected and treated, the better the chances a pet will recover and have less complications. You can learn more about heartworms in animals at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/ or your veterinarian’s office.