Panel Pets

The Risks of Mosquitoes and Tips on how to Defend Your Pets

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Summer time provides the proper alternative to spend some high quality time outdoor together with your pets. When you would possibly assume that your cat’s flea collar or your canine’s flea and tick preventative will maintain them protected in opposition to dangerous pests, there’s one frequent pest that may threaten your pet’s well being: mosquitoes. 

Mosquitos are annoying, and a single chew can maintain you itching all day lengthy — however the threat they pose to pets’ well being is usually ignored. We’re so involved with the problems that fleas and ticks could cause our pets that mosquitoes appear to be an afterthought, however we needs to be way more involved with defending our pets in opposition to these pests too. 

Risks of Mosquitoes for Canine

Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm to canines. Dirofilaria immitis is a worm that infects the blood vessels and coronary heart of a canine, injuring the canine’s cardiovascular and respiratory programs. If a mosquito bites an contaminated canine, it may ingest heartworm larvae inside that canine’s blood. These larvae are handed to the subsequent canine that very same mosquito bites, after which they mature into grownup worms inside that second canine’s physique. 

If left untreated, heartworms can develop as much as a foot lengthy, they usually trigger vital injury and sickness. A canine with heartworm can seem torpid, cough, or vomit, and have problem respiration. It is very important deal with heartworm early on earlier than vital injury will be accomplished to the canine’s physique. Finally, heartworm causes lung illness, coronary heart failure, and organ failure, finally killing the canine. 

Testing a canine for heartworm and placing him on a daily heartworm preventative might help to forestall the unfold of this situation. Whereas there are therapies for heartworm, they’re costly and might trigger life-threatening issues. 

Whereas mosquitoes may also transmit West Nile virus, jap equine encephalitis, and systemic lupus erythematosus, hardly ever, these illnesses are ever transmitted to canines. Stopping heartworms stays the first concern in conserving your canine wholesome

Risks of Mosquitoes for Cats

Heartworms are sometimes regarded as an issue that impacts canines, however mosquitoes can unfold heartworms to cats too. Canine heartworm illness and feline heartworm illness are totally different, and a cat’s immune system typically kills off the heartworm larvae, stopping the an infection. Consequently, cats develop grownup heartworms solely about 10 % as typically as canines do. Whereas canines can have a number of hundred heartworms at a time, cats solely have between one to a few grownup worms. Nonetheless, a heartworm can injury cats’ lungs and hearts simply the identical manner that it may in canines.

Testing cats to find out the presence of heartworms is tougher because the bloodwork check used on canines doesn’t work on cats. As an alternative, cats often require blood work paired with X-rays, ultrasounds, and even an echocardiogram. Whereas canines will be handled for heartworm, there isn’t a present therapy that kills grownup heartworms in cats. As in canines, heartworm in cats can result in cardiac and respiratory failure, in addition to loss of life. 

Risks of Mosquitoes for Horses

Mosquito-borne illnesses additionally pose vital dangers to horses. Jap equine encephalitis (EEE), Western equine encephalitis (WEE), and Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) are all transmitted when a mosquito bites an contaminated horse, then spreads the illness by biting one other. 

Of those three illnesses, EEE is the most typical, and it’s discovered inside a number of areas of the US. WEE happens much less incessantly, and VEE happens in Central and South America however hasn’t been in the US for over 40 years. 

EEE and WEE have an effect on a horse’s nervous system and trigger signs, together with fever, habits adjustments, and impaired imaginative and prescient. Because the illnesses progress, neurological signs corresponding to circling, head urgent, and the shortcoming to swallow emerge. Contaminated horses might expertise muscle twitches, paralysis, and finally convulsions and loss of life. EEE and VEE have very low survival charges, however about 70% to 80% of horses contaminated with WEE do survive. 

Extra Mosquito-Borne Ailments

Sadly, mosquitoes unfold new illnesses that may threaten people too. The Zika virus obtained vital media consideration in 2016 when it unfold throughout the coasts of the US. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and poses a critical risk to pregnant girls since it may trigger delivery defects. With no vaccine obtainable, preventative measures corresponding to avoiding areas with Zika and utilizing mosquito repellent are the one protection in opposition to the virus. 

Whereas Zika is horrifying, we haven’t but seen its results in pets or animals. Though there have been no stories of delivery defects in animals because of the virus, that doesn’t imply that Zika received’t have an effect on animals. Till we all know extra, it’s best to guard pets in opposition to mosquitoes, particularly in areas the place Zika is prevalent.

Many individuals fear that mosquitoes may transmit HIV, however that is one illness the bugs don’t transmit from individual to individual. HIV can’t survive inside mosquitoes, and mosquitoes don’t transmit blood from individual to individual, so we don’t have to fret about receiving from a mosquito chew. 

Why the Mosquito Drawback Is Getting Worse

Local weather change is growing the mosquito inhabitants, which means that it’s extra vital now greater than ever to guard your pets from mosquito-borne illnesses. With hotter temperatures and milder winters, mosquitoes will have the ability to survive the winter. Consequently, their numbers will enhance. As temperatures get hotter in sure areas, mosquitoes may also begin to migrate to places the place they couldn’t beforehand survive. New analysis means that the elevated mosquito inhabitants may kill as many as a billion individuals by spreading illnesses like malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and extra. 

The elevated inhabitants and prevalence of mosquitoes all through even the winter months will have an effect on prevention strategies that pet house owners have to take. As an illustration, horse house owners presently rejoice when the autumn comes, and mosquitoes are eradicated, which means that fly sprays and fly masks will be put away for the winter. With mosquitoes current year-round, pet house owners will must be extra vigilant and lengthen their prevention strategies into the winter. 

Defending Cats and Canine From Mosquitoes

Concern of mosquitoes doesn’t should maintain you and your pets indoors all day. Begin by making your private home and yard a spot that’s unappealing to those pests. As a result of mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, it’s vital to take away any standing water which may be current. Search for pool covers, canine dishes, flower pots, and even bottle caps the place water may have gathered and get rid of these potential breeding areas. Gardens containing chook baths could be a breeding floor for mosquitoes, so repeatedly flush out the water or take away the birdbath solely to make the backyard protected in your pets.

You may additionally wish to use traps to catch these bugs and cut back their inhabitants in your property. Attracting, trapping, and killing mosquitoes will make your whole yard a safer and extra satisfying place. 

Mosquitoes are most lively in the course of the early morning and early night, so attempt to maintain your pets indoors throughout these occasions. Keep away from strolling your canine throughout these occasions, and for those who’d prefer to be outdoor together with your pets, choose to safely spend time on a screened-in deck together with your pets as an alternative of venturing out into the yard when the mosquitoes are lively.  

While you and your pets aren’t outdoor collectively, maintain your pets indoors in order that they aren’t prone to being bitten. Repeatedly examine your private home’s window screens to maintain these bugs out of your private home. 

Some topical flea therapies for canines additionally assist to repel mosquitoes from the canine earlier than they chew. These preventatives might help to maintain fleas out of your private home and provide useful safety in opposition to mosquitoes. Discuss together with your vet about each flea and heartworm preventatives in your pet. 

Defending Horses From Mosquitoes

As a result of horses stay outdoors, it may be tough to utterly defend them from mosquitoes, however there are nonetheless loads of methods you possibly can put to make use of round your barn. 

Begin by eradicating standing water, corresponding to water troughs, water buckets, and even puddles in horse pastures. Contemplate hanging mosquito netting within the barn and stall doorways to maintain them out of the barn. You may additionally wish to spend money on a fly misting system that periodically sprays the barn to assist kill off mosquitoes and flies, although this may be an costly funding. 

Totally spray all your horses with a fly spray rated to discourage mosquitoes each day. Equipping your horses with fly masks, fly sheets, and even fly boots can create a bodily barrier to forestall mosquitoes from biting your horse. 

Lastly, make it possible for all your horses are updated on their advisable vaccinations. Relying on the prevalence of mosquito-borne illnesses in your location, your vet might suggest spring pictures and doubtlessly fall boosters for EEE and WEE. Discuss to your vet to get their suggestion on the very best vaccines in your particular space. In the event you journey together with your horses to compete or path journey, take note of alerts of EEE or WEE outbreaks and think about avoiding these areas to be additional protected.

Preserving Your Pet Wholesome 12 months-Spherical

Summer time is made for heading out on adventures together with your pets, whether or not you’re tackling a brand new path by way of horseback or are taking your canine to the seaside or to the pond. Whereas it’s vital to guard your pet from mosquitoes, you shouldn’t should stay in concern of those pests, both. 


When you’ve got issues about your pet’s well being and stopping mosquito bites, discuss together with your vet. Testing a cat or canine for heartworm and beginning them on an applicable heartworm preventative is among the finest methods to maintain them protected and wholesome. The identical is true of conserving your horse’s EEE and WEE vaccinations updated. While you additionally work to scale back mosquitoes round your private home or barn, you possibly can successfully defend your pets in opposition to the specter of illness.


  • Adam Johanson

    Adam Johanson is an animal lover and a blogger at Panelpets. He writes regularly regarding pets and how to take care of them, as well as general news stories about animals. When he isn't writing, Adam can usually be found playing with his two dogs or cuddling his cat.