While fleas and ticks are the most common pet pests, there are plenty of other parasites equally willing and capable of harming your pets (and you).
Mosquitoes are at the very least, a nuisance. They cause itchy bumps that may be painful, but beyond that, they may also carry serious and life-threatening diseases – some of which are the West Nile Virus (WNV) which can be harmful to you and your pets, Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE), and Heartworm, a silent killer that can be easily treated if caught in time. Feline friends grazing by windows may be especially susceptible to mosquito bites.
Mites are very tiny creatures that make their home on your pet’s skin. They’re very common and pass along easily from one pet to another. Typically, mites aren’t much of a danger (unlike the bacteria and disease carrier tick), but once an infestation occurs they cause a range of skin conditions for your furry friend from dry skin, itching and scabbing, to hair loss.
Treating a mite infestation is similar to that of fleas. Shampoos, chemical treatments, and oral medications are available for your pet to take.
Botflies, or Cuterebra, lie in wait for a host on blades of grass. They then enter the host’s body through any opening such as your pet’s mouth, ear, nose, or any skin wound. Some signs that your pet is playing host to these pests are a lump or bump on the skin which may or may not yet have a small hole in the middle, swelling, skin abscess, or it could be as innocuous as your pet continually scratching or licking one area of the skin.
Cuterebra typically infect rabbits or other outdoor rodents, but your dog and cat may fall victim too when they’re playing and hunting outside. If you suspect that your pet is housing a botfly, take them to the right away.
Your pets can catch worms just about anywhere – from your backyard, from other animals and insects (especially when cats and dogs hunt these smaller prey), and sometimes even from undercooked meat. They can also be born with it or get it from suckling on their mother when young. Intestinal worms, lungworms, and heartworms can be harmful to your pets, even deadly.
The good news is that they’re oftentimes easily treatable and preventable. Keep your pet and their toys clean, and your property free from other pests that may carry these harmful parasites like mice, rats, and fleas. Avoid feeding your raw meat or offal, and regularly treat your cats and dogs with an intestinal wormer at least every 3 months.
Remember, these pests are not only harmful to your pets but some of these diseases can easily spread to you and other loved ones, sokeep your pets clean and healthy and keep your home a worry-free zone. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet if you think your furry friend is sick, and to a pest control service for help in getting rid of unwanted pests.