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Keeping Your Pet Protected During Winter

Author: Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC

In most states, winter spells the end of annoying mosquitos and other pests, but for us pet lovers, the cold may not provide much relief for our four legged friends. Keeping your pet protected during winter is an important part of their longevity and overall health.

Fleas have been known to survive in temperatures down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit – outside. What if they find their way and tuck in for the warmth of your house? If a flea can find a host to feed from (like your pet) it can stay warm throughout the winter. Even if your pets aren’t playing dinner host, flea larvae can still lay dormant in your garage, basement, or outdoor furniture until temperatures warm back up. If they happen to make it inside your nice and cozy house, it’ll be business as usual, which is why active monitoring and prevention medications are still important.

If you live in the Southern half of the US, there’s a high chance that temperatures won’t fall below freezing for very long. This means that not only will fleas and ticks in winter live on, mosquitos might continue their reign of terror all year long. As you probably know, ticks can spread deadly illnesses, like Lyme disease, to both you and your pet. Worse yet, mosquitos carry heartworm, which can lead to serious health issues for your cat or dog. Thankfully, most tick and flea prevention medications also help fight heartworm.

Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment of Pet Infections

Knowing the signs and symptoms of common pest infections is one of the best ways for keeping your pet protected during winter.

Fleas

  • Excessive itching and biting
  • Raised, red bite marks
  • Skin rash
  • Hair loss
  • Tapeworm infection (fleas can carry tapeworms)

Heartworm

Often times, heartworm infections won’t show any signs or symptoms until it’s in an advanced stage.

  • Lethargy
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Dull, dry coat

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease can be difficult to detect in dogs, and the infection may lay dormant for several years.

  • Joint stiffness, pain, and swelling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Kidney damage
  • Excessive urination
  • Blood in urine

Several medications help prevent fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Ivermectin (brand names: Heartgard and Iverhart), Milbemycin (Brand names: Interceptor and Sentinel) and Moxidectin are the three most common preventative drugs. For pets that have an active infection, antibiotics are the usual course of treatment. Immiticide is an arsenic-based drug that is used for killing heartworms. This treatment is very harsh on a pet and several weeks of treatment and rest are required.

Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC isn’t here just for the sole sake of ridding your yard of pests – we want to keep your family safe and healthy. Whether its ticks, mosquitos, stink bugs, or other pests, we offer a huge variety of services that can help you take back your yard and have a safe and enjoyable year.